ILLAWARRA COAL LEAGUE
Helensburgh captain Steve McCallum says new coach Ryan Powell has helped the Tigers move past the heartbreak of last year's grand final as they take the first step to going one better against Dapto on Saturday.
McCallum said the loss would inevitably remain in the minds of the returning players but Powell's fresh perspective had ensured it would not hold them back this year.
"Having Ryan Powell come in as a new coach, it's been put out of our mind straight away with a fresh start," McCallum said.
"He wasn't part of it last year so as far as he's concerned it didn't really happen, he's just looking forward to what we can achieve this year.
"Everyone was a bit gutted when we first got back but we don't speak about too much, we've put it behind us.
"Obviously the players that were there last year it still hurts a bit so the motivation's still there to go one better but it hasn't hampered our build-up."
Powell's fresh ideas may have rejuvenated the club but McCallum said the Tigers won't stray too far from the formula that's taken the Tigers to two of the last three grand finals.
"We're just a good bunch of mates playing footy," he said.
"We haven't really had any superstar standout players, we don't go and recruit big-name NRL players, we just play for each other and rely on working as a team to get the result.
"We'll go in with a similar mindset this week.
"We'll just work hard for each other.
"Everyone knows their role and if everyone does their job and we complete our sets we should come away with the win."
The Tigers sent an ominous warning to their Coal League rivals in racking up two 50-plus scores in trial matches before rain washed out their final trial match last Saturday.
Despite the cancellation, coach Powell is confident his side has ticked all the boxes ahead of the season-opener.
"We had a trial cancelled on the weekend, which was our final preparation but we'll be as close as we can be to being ready for round one,' Powell said.
"We've scored plenty of points in the first couple of trials but they're put aside now and they mean nothing to us.
"I've heard a lot of things coming out of the Dapto area but we've just got to concentrate on us.
"If we do everything in our backyard right the game will look after itself.
"Dapto have gone out and spent a lot of money again and they've got some really good quality players that have come to the club so Dapto at Dapto round one is definitely going to be a test."
ILLAWARRA COAL LEAGUE
DAPTO v HELENSBURGH (3pm), Dapto Showground
WESTS v CORRIMAL (3pm), Parrish Park
COLLEGIANS v THIRROUL (3pm), Collegians Sports Centre