OPPORTUNITY is the buzzword circulating the Port Macquarie Sharks.
A much-publicised turnover of experienced players in the off-season has presented a couple of their younger brigade with a chance to make a name for themselves in the top grade.
Promising front-rower Koby Smith is one who played a handful of matches in first grade last year and then made an impact off the bench in their round one win over Port City last Sunday.
He said the challenge now was for the fresh batch of Sharks to be consistent.
"It's good, but it's bad at the same time when you don't have the older heads in there," he said.
Smith made his first appearance in first grade for the year when he bypassed reserve grade and made the jump from under-18s straight into first grade last week.
"It was a surprise at first, because my brother came up through reserve grade and I've been lucky enough to go straight into first grade (this year)," he said.
"The older heads have been giving it to him about me being number one."
Despite the friendly sibling rivalry, the younger Smith has set a goal of playing older brother Mitch when he returns from injury.
"I'd like to play first grade with him at some stage this year, so I'll try and play my best to keep my spot," he said.
The front-rower admitted the Sharks would need to be much better in possession than they were in the opening round when they travel to Kempsey to tackle the Mustangs on Saturday.
Macleay Valley are expected to be up towards the top of the table around finals time.
"It's important to get that first win away from home and put a dent in this Kempsey team," Smith said.
I reckon they will be one of the teams to beat and being at home it's going to be a lot harder.- Koby Smith
"I reckon they will be one of the teams to beat and being at home it's going to be a lot harder.
"They'll be good, but I think if we can stay with them after the first 20 they'll fatigue."
Matches between the Sharks and Mustangs have always been physical encounters and Smith expected that to continue this weekend.
"I'm expecting very high contact and a bit of grubbiness, but that's footy for you," he said.
The Sharks defence will have to keep an eye newly-signed Macleay Valley fullback Owen Blair.
Blair will take to the field for his first home game in Mustangs colours this Saturday after being released by the Breakers last Thursday.
"It's good to be home and hopefully we can take out the grand final this year," Blair said.
Blair claimed the Group 3 premiership with the Breakers in 2016 and 2017.
First grade kicks off at 3pm. Ladies League Tag starts the day off at 11.30am.
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