THE Hastings Valley Vikings are well placed for the Mid North Coast rugby season opener against Pirates in a fortnight’s time after a good hitout in a three-way trial on Saturday.
The Vikings had a 7-7 draw against Inverell Highlanders and a 14-12 loss to Walcha – last season’s Central North tier two finalist – on a dry Lake Cathie pitch.
A couple of new and returning faces impressed coach Andrew Kable as the Vikings performed admirably.
He welcomed the opportunity to watch both first and reserve grade squads in action.
The Vikings had a few structural issues early on before finding their feet and adjusting well against some quality opposition.
Both sides had some players out, but so did the visiting teams.
Vikings’ union convert Josh Hyde had little trouble in the 15-man code, but his debut was soured by a shoulder complaint.
“I was really impressed with him,” Vikings coach Andrew Kable said of the former Port City Breakers rugby league captain.
He was also pleased with the performance from big Vance Byles, who has come across to the Vikings from the Hastings League’s Long Flat Dragons. “It was handy having him take the ball up,” Kable said.
Joel Stig came on at open-side flanker for Chris Johnson and did well.
“He filled in nicely,” Kable said.
Tom Sheaves is back for Vikings and slotted seamlessly into the wing position.
He scored a try on Saturday.
“He finished off a good move,” Kable said.
The Vikings had only one genuine lineout thrower on Saturday and it showed.
A couple went awry before they got it right.
Kable isn’t concerned. Those issues are low on the list of issues as the season looms.
“I’m not too worried about it,” he said.
James Terrett joined Hyde on the injured list. He has a foot problem and is due for scans this week.
Kable hoped he would be right for the first round the Vikings’ big Port rivals.
That match-up has happened the past two seasons.
“The guys are pretty accustomed to it,” Kable said.
He knows the opposition won’t be easy.
“I’m hearing the Pirates have recruited well,” Kable said.
“I guess we’ll find out in round one.”