Stingrays out to enjoy belated homecoming

Stingrays president Mick Woods and Collegians chief executive Michael Wilkins at Collegians Sports Ground on Friday. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

Stingrays president Mick Woods and Collegians chief executive Michael Wilkins at Collegians Sports Ground on Friday. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

FOOTBALL

Seven weeks later than expected, the Illawarra Stingrays finally get to break in their new home ground with a double-header at Collegians Sports Ground.

After agreeing to play half of their home games at the rugby league complex this season, the Rays will meet Manly United on Saturday and Marconi Stallions on Sunday.

Coach Graham Shaw was rapt to finally utilise the facility.

"We had a couple of pre-season games there and it is an excellent set-up out there," Shaw said.

"The change rooms, the size and the quality of the pitch and from a coaching perspective it is good to look down to see your formation and things like that."

The switch to Collegians comes at the perfect time for the Stingrays, who turned their season around with a 2-1 win last weekend against Blacktown Spartans.

"We have managed to get the ball back at our feet, so a lot of that match fitness and touch has come back over the last couple of weeks," Shaw said.

"Even though the results hadn't been going our way the girls have been playing for the fitness level that dropped off during the period off."

The other key absence after the Stingrays's playing hiatus was confidence.

But Shaw believes that's also no longer a concern.

"The girls have got that win under their belt after a few losses, so that will give them a boost of confidence," Shaw said.

"Heading into a weekend where you can potentially come out of it with six points, I think they are going to be fired up and ready to go.

"Manly may be the tougher of the two games but we will be trying to get wins in both of the games. We will have to utilise the squad as to who plays in both games to keep the team as fit as possible."

Six points from the weekend's matches would put the Stingrays back in the hunt for a finals spot.

"We set out at the start of the season a goal and a plan to be in that top-four group, obviously seeing us play semi-final football," Shaw said.

"If we can get some points out of the last catch-up game on Saturday and get a result on Sunday, we can get that six points which would see us move up that table a bit."

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop