With the first ball up of the 2014 season just a week and a half away, the Huddersfield Rams Australian Rules Football Club are raring to put their close-season exploits into practice.
Having ended last season as Movember Cup winners, the Rams trained all through the winter ready for April’s Haggis Cup in Scotland. The annual pre-season tournament saw the Huddersfield side lose narrowly in the final – just a goal adrift of hosts and winners, Glasgow Sharks.
During the Scottish tournament, the Rams triumphed against French side Paris Cockerels and the Edinburgh Bloods to reach the semi-finals, where they narrowly beat AFLCNE compatriots Tyne Tees Tigers, before missing out on the silverware by just six points.
Despite this, Rams full-forward and founder, Karl Haigh, claimed player of the tournament, having produced outstanding performances. Other notable performances came from half-backs Ross Shirtliffe and Steve Hall, as well as the newly-drafted Regan Hargreaves.
The club’s development and progression during the close-season has been strong. The introductory sessions in January and February have paid off massively, along with the new players drafted in from the Rastrick High School development programme, with the 16 and 17-year-olds integrating quickly.
The AFL Central and Northern League kicks off on Saturday, April 26, when the Rams face Sheffield Thunder in Manchester.
The club are looking to build on last season’s finish, just outside the play-offs, and according to head coach Jason Battye, they have a realistic title ambitions.
“I have high expectations based on the strong Movember Cup performance and advanced skills illustrated in training and pre-season games,” he said.
“We will have solid competition.”
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