No pressure on Hood, says coach Stapley
Robin Hood coach Derek Stapley insists his defending champions are feeling any extra pressure ahead of the new Corona League season.
Hood completed their quest for a maiden Corona League title with a hard fought victory over league leaders Flanagan's Onions at Goose Gosling Field in the final match of last season.
Needing a win to snatch the title away from Onions, who went into the final game of the league season three points ahead of their nearest rivals, and with a slightly better goal difference, Hood emerged victorious.
Now with the bulls eye squarely on their back, Stapley said his side will be raring to go when they face Tuff Dogs in the Charity Cup tomorrow night.
“I honestly don't believe that our coaching staff feels any pressure from being champions last year and I think that goes for most of our players as well, but it is not a topic we have discussed a lot,” Stapley said.
“Last year was fantastic for the team but it is now well behind us and we have to start all over again, beginning on Friday
“As a club we are delighted that four of our Corona players have stepped up to join our First Division squad. They will be a big loss to our Corona team but we continue to attract new players all the time and we are pleased with how things are progressing in the lead up to the season.”
The opening fixture of the season will see the psychological games begin when the two fierce rivals do battle for the first piece of silverware on offer.
Stapley doesn't believe the result will have any long-term bearing as the season gets into full swing.
“We want to win every game and we would love to be holding the trophy at the end of Friday night. We have a great, healthy rivalry with Tuff Dogs and I am sure it will be a competitive game but I don't think there are any lingering major psychological advantages for whoever wins this first match of the season.
“After the Charity Cup the focus for all the teams turns to the league and it is going to be incredibly competitive this year and previous results don't count for anything on match day.
“We have been making steady progress over the last few weeks but as we all know there is nothing like a competitive match to let you know your true fitness level.
“It usually takes a few weeks into a new season for the sharpness to fully return and to work off all of the summer excesses.
“The Corona League continues to go from strength to strength and the quality of the teams has risen once again this year.”
Kick off for tomorrow's game is 7pm at Goose Gosling Field.