UPBEAT Underbank coach Richard Knight believes his side has the ability to go one better in this season’s Co-operative Conference National campaign and win the Grand Final.
Rangers open their 2011 summer campaign with a West Yorkshire derby clash at Kippax Knights on Sunday.
Their hosts have proved a tough nut to crack in the past.
But with Knight claiming Underbank have just completed their best and most thorough pre-season ever, the head coach is relishing the challenge ahead.
“We’ve said there’s no point competing this season if we don’t think we’ll win it, and we genuinely believe we can,” said the confident coach, who is also in charge of the Giants’ Under 16s Scholarship side this season.
“Pre-season really couldn’t have gone any better, and the players can’t wait to get out there this weekend and show everyone what they can do.
“Kippax are one of the toughest teams to face in the competition, but we know we’re ready.
“Over the past few seasons we’ve fallen into the trap of going into the start of the season a little under-done and suffered some heavy early defeats as a result.
“But we’re confident that won’t be the case this time around.
“After this Kippax game, we’ve got our home opener against Hemel the following week and then we head to Bramley.
“This is clearly the chance for us to put down an early marker, which we feel we’ll do.”
Knight has named a strong opening-day side for the contest, with many of the players who still have winter league commitments available to play.
Those include captain Lee St Hilaire, Sam Cummings, Sam Dalby, Neil Barrett, Joe Flaherty and Richard Aka, who were all in the St Joseph’s side that lifted the Holliday Cup with Monday’s final triumph over Slaithwaite Saracens.
Also included is new Australian centre or back-row forward Nick Briggs who, along with Ovenden man Chris Geoghan, will be making his debut.
Rangers are also boosted with the return of the experienced Andy Boothroyd and Tom Senior, while there could be a first start for 16-year-old utility back Dom Horne.
Underbank: St Hilaire, Williams, Geoghan, Cummings, Dalby, Flaherty, Carroll, Berry, Boothroyd, Senior, Joyce, Briggs, Barrett, Aka, Allete, Midgeley, Chatterton, Horne.