Shamrocks coach expects budding rugby stars to aim up

ILLAWARRA RUGBY 

Woonona Shamrocks coach Marc Joy has put his faith in the next generation of stars to stand tall in the club's pursuit of the 2014 premiership title.

The Rocks lost eight players in the off-season and recruited the untested Joy, a member of the club's premiership-winning sides in the '90s, to fill the coaching role.

He had no option but to blood several Shamrocks juniors who recently progressed through the ranks and was confident they are ready for full-time first grade.

"We're bringing back the culture we had years ago - if they're up to it they're good enough," Joy said.

"They're playing pretty well so I'm pretty happy with it.

"We've got three blokes out with injury and last week I had four Colts in the first grade team, a couple of 18-year-olds coming through, and one of them was man of the match. It's still early but if they keep standing up, those blokes coming back are going to find it hard to get back in."

After they started the season with a 38-0 loss to title holders Camden, Shammies bounced back with last week's 43-0 shut-out of Shoalhaven.

Joy wasn't surprised that his side struggled in the opening round but expects gradual improvement.

"We're still a little bit underdone because all the trials got washed out," he said.

"We're probably just starting to get on top of it after two games and getting that match fitness, which killed us in the first game."

The Rocks are going for back-to-back wins when they meet University on Saturday at Ocean Park.

Kiama will have to raise the bar in their home game against Camden, Shoalhaven play host to Avondale and the Vikings are at home to Bowral.

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