Group 20 rugby league
IF YOU thought new Leeton coach Willie McDonald was a straight-up starter in the club's depleted forward pack, think again.
The Group 6 premiership-winner says he has to prove himself to his teammates first before taking up one of the vacancies left by departed forwards Nick Puntoriero (West Wyalong) and Brent Pike (TLU).
While it's hard to imagine the experienced Kiwi won't be a huge part of the Greens on the field this season, McDonald is at least making the right noises ahead of Sunday's Paul Kelly Memorial Shield.
"I'm no guarantees of a start because I've got to show the boys I'm capable of playing down here," he said.
"As much as they've got to prove themselves to me, I've got to prove myself to them.
"It's a shame we lost those guys because we would have had a really strong squad, so we lost a bit of depth there but in saying that there's a few other young blokes about a year or two off, or have been floating around reserve grade for a few years. It gives them a chance to step up."
McDonald only arrived in the area in January, after three of the club's biggest recruits Andrew Lavaka, Chris Latu and Kolo Lomu had been signed, sealed and delivered.
"I won't actually find out what they're like until we start playing a few games but from all reports, they're all quality players. And they've been training like it too," he said.
"But I won't know myself how good they are until we start getting into it.
"Andrew's record speaks for itself, obviously Chris Latu's played group footy before, so he's got to be half-handy, and I hear Kolo was pretty dangerous out wide when he was playing. And he's looking really good at training, actually.
"I can't wait to see these guys play."
Leeton will be missing a handful of key players on Sunday including lock Ben Fisher, fullback Sam Eisenhut and prop Frank Fiumara.