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The Leeton Galloping Greens ended a 15-year title drought in 2022, and a youthfully exuberant outfit will be out to defend their crown when the new season kicks off on Sunday.

Coached by hard-working prop and Riverina representative Hayden Philp, the Greens are in good hands, and he is pleased to be leading a very similar side into the new season.

“There’s not been too many changes,” he said.

“A couple of the old boys aren't entirely sure what they are doing, and I’ve not been trying too hard with them.

“Bas and Fletcher Blackett have come back, and so has Billy Dickinson, but we have a pretty similar side.”

Veteran playmaker Cameron Bruest will again lead the side around the paddock at halfback, where he will combine with a couple of young guns in a spine considered by most pundits to be the best in Group 20.

“Cam (Bruest) is back, and Will (Barnes) and Kirtis (Fisher) will stick around for another year, and that’s good, as they are two of the best players in the competition,” he said.

“They are only young, and they will gain more experience and only be better for it, and it means we basically have the same spine.”

Shannon Bradbrook has committed to playing in Reserve Grade, meaning there will be one significant change, but Philp isn't concerned, as good talent is filtering through from the Greens Under 18s and lower grade sides.

“The best thing is, we have some versatility, and blokes can play a lot of positions, which is handy for me,” he said.

The Greens kick off their campaign in West Wyalong with a big match against the Mallee Men at Ron Crowe Oval on Sunday, and they will enter the contest somewhat understrength.

“We have West Wyalong this weekend, and we have seven out for first grade, but talking to the reserve grade coach, we will still field a full 13, and he thinks he's got another seven players to return,” Philp said.

“To field two sides with that many players out; it's great for the club, and it looks like we have a good squad of about 40, which is handy.”

There will be expectations on the Greens to go back-to-back, while Darlington Point-Coleambally and Griffith will be out to make it hard for them, with both clubs set to field first solid first grade sides.

“There is a bit of pressure on us, but as long as the guys are performing each week, we’ll be right,” Philp said.

“We had a big preseason, and the fitness is there, but we just need luck with injuries; we got lucky last year with everyone coming back at the right time.

“Plus, last year, for a lot of them, it was their first Grand Final, and we have a young side, and they will only be better for the experience.”

Group 20 action will take centre stage in the Riverina this week. Group 9 will enjoy a competition-wide bye as they celebrate their centenary on Friday and the NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and Dolphins at McDonald's Park on Saturday afternoon.

Group 20 Round One First Grade draw: West Wyalong Malee Men v Leeton Greens at Ron Crowe Oval, Tullibigeal-Lake Cargelligo United v Griffith Black & Whites at Lake Cargelligo Sports Ground, Yenda Blueheelers v Darlington Point-Coleambally Roosters at Wade Park, Yanco-Wamoon Hawks v Hay Magpies at Yanco Sportsground.

Group 9 Round Two First Grade results: Albury Thunder 34 defeated Gundagai Tigers 26, Temora Dragons 27 defeated Tumut Blues 16. Young Cherrypickers 28 defeated Wagga Kangaroos 26.

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