New era to finally dawn for Ryles

RUGBY LEAGUE

Wests coach Jason Ryles is expecting a walk down memory lane when the Devils head to Dapto Showground to take on the Canaries on Friday night.

Dapto have struggled on the field in recent seasons but new coach Chris Leikvoll engineered a homecoming of several local juniors leading many to dub the Canaries as dark horses for the premiership.

For Ryles, a Wests junior, facing a Dapto side contending for the premiership is all he's ever known.

"I don't know anything different," Ryles said.

"It's never easy going down there and playing. I can remember doing it as a kid. It was always tough.

"It's going to be a good test first-up for us.

"They've recruited very well and big Penny [Leikvoll] has got them firing through their trials. I'm sure they'll be looking to get a win first-up, particularly against the old rivals Wests," he said.

The Devils were due to host Corrimal at Parrish Park in round one but a week-long deluge washed the game out.

Ryles, who will miss the match as he recovers from an achilles injury, believes his side is as well prepared as possible given the disrupted build-up.

"It's not good but it is what it is," Ryles said. "We'd have needed a snorkel to play at our ground [Parrish Park] last week.

"We'll just prepare as well as we can, control everything we can control and just try and get the job done on the night."

Dapto's scheduled season-opener against Helensburgh was also washed out, leaving both sides with a disrupted preparation.

Leikvoll said the result of the match will likely hinge on who best handles the disruption.

"Both teams will probably go in a little underdone but it'll come down to whoever handles that the best," he said.

"It's been tough but all the boys are chomping at the bit now to kick off the season and start playing for some points."

Leikvoll's back to the future approach in his first year in charge ticked all the preseason boxes but he said his team still has a a lot to do to to prove they're the real deal; starting with their first-up match against their arch rivals on Friday.

"They've [Wests] been the benchmark for a long time," Leikvoll said.

"They know how to win games and that's something we need to learn to do again because we've finished outside the five the last few years.

"It's all new waters for us. We'll just do our best and we'll put the best team we can on the park on Friday night," he said.

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