West Wyalong co-coach Mark Wood may have won a West Wyalong Knockout during his time with the Wagga Kangaroos, but he says there’s no feeling like playing for the Mallee Men in front of a home crowd at the pre-season event.
“There’s a big difference,” Wood said about running out for West Wyalong compared to other teams.
“You always expect a big crowd at the knockout and it gets all the boys keen.
“We’ve got some great supporters in West Wyalong.”
The West Wyalong Knockout kicks off on Friday at 6.30pm when Forbes take on Young.
The Mallee Men have drawn Wagga Brothers for their first round match to take place at 8.30pm.
Despite Brothers finishing ninth on the Group Nine ladder last year, Wood won’t be taking the Wagga side – or any team for that matter – lightly.
“Hopefully, we can get over Brothers but there’s not going to be many easy games this weekend,” Wood said.
“If you look over the teams, there’s quality teams everywhere.
“I haven't paid too much attention to Group Nine over the past couple of years but they are always solid.
“Also, you don’t know what everyone is like at this time of year.”
The match will be Wood’s first as coach of West Wyalong – he will share the coaching duties with Chris Mayberry.
Wood is excited to finally lead his junior club and said the players that were available were ready to go.
“It’s been good but we’ve had a few blokes away,” Wood said of the pre-season.
“At this time of year, you always get a bit of that but we can’t really complain.
“We’ve been getting decent numbers to training and everyone’s been putting in.”
West Wyalong will take a noticeably younger team into the knockout.
Wood will be keeping a close eye on a couple of players to see how they are travelling after the gruelling pre-season.
“Chris Judd’s just moved home from Wagga, so I’m keen to see him back out there,” Wood said.
“There’s Dyl Turner too, who’s turned in to a pretty big fella, it will be good to see how he goes.”
If the Mallee Men win their Friday night match, they will move onto round two where they will take on either Tullibigeal-Lakes United or the Wagga Kangaroos.