THE Hastings Valley Vikings now have a gold medallist in their corner.
Wheelchair rugby Paralympian, Ryley Batt, has been named as the club's patron.
Batt said he was already a fan of the club and attended as many games as possible throughout the years.
"I'll definitely try to get to more games now and support them," he said.
"I already go to a few games."
Batt said, as far as honours go, becoming a club patron was something "different" to him.
"When you hear of club patrons, they are normally older people who have supported the club for a long time," he said.
"I'm 25, and to be asked to become a patron at that age is a great feeling. "I'm really honoured."
He said it was particularly special to him considering the club's 20th anniversary this year.
"It will be a massive year for the club and hopefully they can keep winning like last year," Batt said.
Likewise, the Vikings are just as chuffed to have an athlete like Batt promote their club.
President David Barnes said it was only a positive step to have Batt come on board.
"It's massive for us to have Ryley affiliated with the club as a patron to promote us as a club," he said.
Coach Andrew Kable also looked forward to Batt's involvement.
"It's excellent," he said.
"The guy's a gold medallist Paralympian. It's another sign of the strength of the Vikings."
Meanwhile, The Vikings will face Walcha and Inverell at Lake Cathie Sportsground on Saturday in a three-way trial, and if they turn up with full-strength teams, Vikings coach Andrew Kable predicts a tough test.
Walcha finished runner-up in the second tier of last season's Central North competition, and Inverell will be no pushover.
Kable is particularly concerned about Inverell and Walcha's halves combinations.
"They are especially good," he said.
Rugby convert Josh Hyde will play his first game for the club tomorrow after coming across from Port City Breakers.
Kable has been watching his progress closely.
"It will be interesting to see how he goes," he said.
"He looks pretty sharp though. He's got a good pass.
"He just needs to work on few structures. When he gets that right, he should go alright."
Scotsman Robbie Glen is going from strength to strength since moving from Walcha, and Waylon Skipps is starting to gel with the side.
Dave Kearsey has moved to town from Inverell, but he won't play tomorrow.
The Vikings will miss Adam and Hamish McCormack tomorrow. The brothers are in Hong Kong for the sevens tournament.
"That's disappointing, given it's the final trial before round one," Kable said.
The Vikings will have two teams in action tomorrow: Green and Black.
Play gets underway at 4pm tomorrow with Vikings Black taking on Inverell.
The last match is on at 6.05pm when Walcha plays Inverell.
Vikings players will also take part in that match.
The trials will be first which Kable has seen this season, but he was happy to hear about his team knocking the rust out with a 33-10 win over Coffs Harbour last weekend.
It was a hard-fought win in which the Vikings pulled away in the last 20 minutes in the rain.