Camden Rams target title defence

RUGBY UNION

AFTER breaking an 18-year title drought, Camden aren't about to hand back their premiership trophy without a fight.

The Rams broke their finals hoodoo with a 20-10 victory over Avondale in last year's grand final and, after a preceding 15-year absence from finals football, returning coach Brendon Schoupp said his side was determined to make the most of their time at the top.

"The club's worked really hard to get into the position they are," Schoupp said.

"It was really good to win the premiership but it doesn't really mean anything this year.

"We need to let the process take care of itself and work really hard. If we do that we'll be somewhere thereabouts at the end of the season."

While the Rams have lost a number of players from last year, Schoupp said the key personnel would be back on deck.

"We've still got our senior players, our core group of players, and we've got some young blokes coming in," he said.

"We'll give a couple of the younger blokes an opportunity in first grade and try to get them ready for the future.

"There's a bit of different personnel but overall the effort's been really good and we're looking forward to the year."

After finally breaking through for a premiership, Schoupp said his side would inevitably be the hunted team this year.

"Yeah, people will be out to knock us off but if we work hard and take care of the process all that stuff will take care of itself," he said.

"If we start thinking about premierships it just won't happen."

Schoupp said the Rams would not be looking past their tough first-up assignment against Woonona at Camden on Saturday.

"Shamrocks are a really good club and are always a hard club to play against," Schoupp said.

"It's a good week to start the competition because you just can't take it lightly against the Shamrocks.

"They're a very good club, a very traditional club and they always put on a good performance.

"We've prepared well and we'll prepare well for the rest of the week.

"It'll be a good first-up test for our guys."

Elsewhere in round one, Kiama host Bowral, Shoalhaven are at home to the Vikings while Avondale host Tech Waratahs.

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