The Penrith Rams are aiming for 10 straight wins this Saturday afternoon – a feat the local AFL club hasn’t achieved in decades.
First grade coach Kevin Kirk is enjoying a stunning debut season as head coach of the Rams, with his AFL Sydney Division 2 side the talk of the competition.
After scraping into the finals in 2015, the Rams have gone from strength to strength under coach Kirk despite losing 12 players from last year’s squad.
“It’s been really good, the boys have come together quicker than we thought they would,” Kirk told the Weekender.
“They are a formidable unit when they get going and everyone is contributing something at the moment.”
Penrith haven’t just been winning games by a measly few points this season – they’ve been laying down the law to their opposition with an average winning margin of a whopping 55 points. Last weekend the Rams belted Sydney University 126-18 for their ninth win in a row.
Kirk credited his whole side for stepping up right across the park.
“Our defence has been strong, our midfield has been strong and our forwards have been productive by kicking goals and scoring,” he said.
“Our club currently has two of the top three scorers in the competition.
“Phillip Aumann is leading the competition with 48 goals and Mitchell Stevens has 36 goals in third spot.”
Penrith only won six games on their way to a finals appearance last season, with the former lower grades coach implementing a number of new coaching strategies to propel his team to the top of the competition this year.
“We play a different style than we did last year as far as structurally, and our expectations of our players are fairly well spelled out,” he said.
“We are quietly confident we can give things a good shake in the finals if we continue to play the way we are.”
With five rounds to go, Kirk is hopeful his dream debut season can continue into the run home.
“I’ve been a bit lucky, it’s a good group and for my first year in first grade I’m grateful to be honest,” he said.
Penrith will battle the Manly Warringah Giants this Saturday at Weldon Oval.
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.