ILLAWARRA COAL LEAGUE
New Helensburgh coach Ryan Powell hopes the Tigers are ready to quickly move on from last year's grand final heartache.
Powell has taken charge after the club came within one point of breaking a 20-year premiership drought stretching back to 1993, before Collegians five-eighth Sam Duggan broke their hearts with a late field goal.
Replacing new St George Illawarra recruitment man Ben Haran, Powell believes it can only serve as motivation for so long before it becomes dwelling on the past.
"I think they've really got to learn from it but personally I wasn't involved in it, so I haven't spoken to them too much about it," Powell said.
"I guess for most of them it's still burning but I wasn't there and we're going in a new direction this year and you've just got to put that behind you.
"Even Collies, yeah they won it, but they won last year, they didn't win this year, so you've got to get on with it. There's a job at hand and you've got to do it."
Powell took former club Shellharbour to the finals in 2013 but the Sharks' defection back to Group Seven saw him amicably split with the club to pursue his career in Illawarra's top-flight competition.
He said the Helensburgh role was the perfect fit.
"I left Shellharbour due to the fact they were going back to Group Seven and I think they made the right decision by their club," Powell said.
"I've loved the opportunity to come to Helensburgh, which is still a very locally-based side as opposed to buying players in.
"All I really want to do is coach [a side] rather than buy and put together.
"That was my motivation to come to Helensburgh and it's really coming true for me because all those local guys have come back and I'm going to get the opportunity to coach them."
Powell has added former Shellharbour charge Chris Lewis to the Tigers roster but feels the strength of his side lies in the home-grown players at the heart of the club.
"I've loved every minute of it, it's been great to get back around a bunch of blokes who are so tightly knit," Powell said.
"I'm not changing the culture whatsoever, it's what made me want to come here and it's why they're all still together.
"We don't have the backing of the leagues clubs, we don't have all that money coming through but what we've got is a bunch of blokes who are willing to work hard for the club and put it together on the footy field, so it's pretty enjoyable to be around."
The Tigers sounded an ominous warning to their Coal League rivals with a 50-6 trial win over Camden on Sunday and will travel to Canberra on Saturday to take on the Woden Valley Rams.