2014 is shaping as a big year for the Bega Roosters.
The Bega Roosters Rugby League Football Club has announced a new sponsor and the players have hit the ground running.
The club’s major sponsor in 2014 is United Fitness Studio (UFS).
The Roosters enjoyed their first training session at the North Bega gym on Thursday afternoon.
UFS will host players for regular gym sessions, while owner Shaun Ruzicka and his team will conduct motivational talk seminars.
Ruzicka said he was excited about the new partnership with the Roosters, adding it heralded a “new age of league”.
“It’s fantastic,” he said.
“I will support any sporting club which trains regularly.”
Ruzicka paid credit to Roosters first grade coaches Ryan Apps and Grant Jessop for inspiring UFS to jump on board.
“Ryan and ‘Scrub’ have a great attention towards the game – that motivated me more than anything.”
Jessop and Bega Chicks ladies league-tag coach Andrew Badullovich oversaw Thursday’s gym session.
Jessop said his side was fired up after the disappointment of falling so close in 2013.
The Roosters first grade team reached the Group 16 grand final, but was pipped 14-10 by Moruya (BDN, 10/9/12).
When asked how players felt about that loss, Jessop paused before giving his response.
“It’s about having a positive attitude,” he said.
“To get so close, it drives you even more.”
The Roosters will head into the season with a similar first grade line-up.
The only major loss is young halfback Adam Lucas, who has signed with the Canberra Raiders.
However, Jessop said he was confident the club would find a replacement.
“It’s about the team environment,” he said.
“It’s about putting in for your team-mates.”
Jessop said the Roosters had a good roll-up for their first training session recently.
He said the club would start with once a week gym sessions at UFS, before the introduction of post-game programs throughout the season.
“There will [also] be regular classes which will be supervised by Shaun – he has an outstanding knowledge,” Jessop said.
While attention is placed on the first grade side, Bega’s other senior teams are also looking to make an impact.
Bega’s reserves were defeated in the semi-final last year and will be led by new coach Steven Luff.
The under 18s also reached the semi-finals and they will be coached by James Scott and Barry Grant.
The players under most pressure are the Bega Chicks, who broke through for their maiden premiership victory in 2013.
In just their second season, the Chicks recorded a 6-4 win over a strong Cooma Fillies.
The task could get harder with star player Kezie Apps possibly playing rugby league in Wollongong this season.
Badullovich said he hoped Apps would also continue to play for the Chicks.
He said the Chicks were eyeing off successive premierships.
“It’s very hard to do, after what we achieved last year,” Badullovich said.
“We have a relaxed attitude and will take each week as it comes, or it [the pressure] might take over us.”