Huddersfield YMCA can’t wait to make history.
Coach Jody Shaw’s side will tomorrow make their bow in North I East when they visit Halifax rivals Old Crossleyans (3.00).
It will be the first time YMCA have played at such a high level, having gained promotion from Yorkshire I last season.
But despite the step up in class, Shaw is confident he has the players capable of holding their own at the higher level – although more will clearly be known after tomorrow’s big opening test.
“We feel ready,” said Shaw.
“These are really exciting times for the club, because we’ve never competed at this level before in our history, and I think that’s something that’ll bring the best out of this group of players.
“We’re obviously taking a bit of a step into the unknown, and it’ll probably be a couple of weeks before we know exactly how big a challenge we face, although we obviously know it’s not going to be easy!
“But I know we have a young, fit, fast and positive-playing side who have prepared well and will be ‘up’ for those challenges. I have complete faith in this squad.”
Shaw has underlined that fact by keeping faith with the bulk of last season’s promotion-winning squad, with just two new recruits in tomorrow’s line-up.
They are Tongan inside centre Vakautafefine Kanti Tonga Fonua (nicknamed Semisi) and former Huddersfield front-row forward Sam Slater.
Several other new arrivals are waiting in the wings to make their YMCA debuts, including fellow centre David Larder who still has his coaching commitments with RL Championship club Sheffield Eagles.
And the Laund Hill side are also lacking the services of influential captain Ed Barber, who is serving a suspension but is back for next Saturday’s opening home game against Northern.
As well as the on-field buzz, there have also been some positive off-field moves, with the YMCA having signed an exclusive three-year deal with Kooga to provide all the club’s clothing and having welcomed Render Master as the club’s main sponsor.
Huddersfield YMCA: Johnson, Stead, Ryder, Fonua, Bentley; Wilson, Clayton; Steve Dyke, Hill, Rafter, Bell, Housley, Stuart Dyke, Hodge, Whitehead. Subs: Sharrock, Lumb, Slater.