Milne: Black and Whites will be competitive

Group 20 rugby league

IT'S still early days for the new-look Black and Whites but captain-coach David Milne sees no reason why last year's Group 20 wooden spooners can't be competitive in 2014.

Aggressive in the off-season player market, Griffith has brought in a host of new faces as the club looks to leave the horrors of the past few years behind them and kick off a new era under former NRL star Milne.

Speaking at Tuesday night's season launch at the Griffith Leagues Club, attended by nearly 100 people, Milne told The Area News the team was back on track and raring to go.

"We haven't played a game yet so we'll reserve judgment until then, but I reckon we're looking pretty good," he said. "I don't know how the boys were last year but they're all willing to have a go and that's all I can ask for. There hasn't been much pep-talking I've had to do. 

"It's really looking like we're going to have a decent season."

But fans may have to wait until the Paul Kelly Memorial Shield to see the Black and Whites for the first time.

Milne said it was unlikely the club would be organised in time to enter the West Wyalong Knockout at the end of the month - which is also when Griffith's new Kiwi contingent is expected to roll into town.

"Hopefully they'll enjoy it as much as I am," he said.

Black and Whites president Craig O'Keeffe has been at the coalface of Griffith's off-field transformation since last season.

He said the club owes a debt of gratitude to Country Rugby League region manager David Skinner, who has been instrumental in helping the Black and Whites off their feet by assisting with a strategic plan. 

But the biggest test - on the field - still awaits.

"The vibe at the moment is very positive - but at the start of last year there was a positive vibe," O'Keeffe said. "But it all fell apart when those (imports) took off, ripped the guts out of us and took some money with them.

"David Milne has made a big difference. He's a really down-to-earth sort of guy - he doesn't carry on with any airs or graces. 

"It was good for everyone to get together at the season launch and formally do something, which is what the club is all about - getting everyone together and pulling in one direction."

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