Kiwis to bolster Tigers

WINGHAM’S player roster will be bolstered by four New Zealanders this year.

Three, Tepuhi Rudolph, Logan Pocklington and Riki Toby turned out with the club last year and they’ll be joined by a mate, who coach Stu Baker said is a front rower. 

“I don’t know much about him - they only arrived here on Monday,’’ he said.

Baker returns to senior coaching this year for the first time since 2004. He steered Wingham to premierships in 2002 and 03 and the 04 grand final. The Tigers have endured a lean spell since 2004 and were wooden spooners for the past two seasons. However, the club won reserve grade last year and were grand finalists in under 18s.

A member of last season’s under 18s, utility back Tim Bridge played some first grade last year and will press for a permanent spot in firsts. Lock  Shannon Ellem is still eligible for 18s but Baker expects him to come into contention for seniors.

As was the case last year Wingham will have a number of players working out of the area and returning home to play.

This means they won’t be able to train regularly with the side and Baker said he will compensate for this by organising sessions on game day.

“We’ll do a bit of ball work for half an hour or so on Saturdays,’’ he said.

He’s happy so far with the turn outs at training sessions.

“We’re getting about 30 or so there, which is pretty good for this time of year,’’ he said.

Wingham will continue to train on Mondays and Thursdays and will revert to Tuesday/Thursday after the twilight cricket season.

Wingham won’t be organising any trials. “The pre-season will be enough,’’ Baker confirmed.