Penrith Rams coach Kevin Kirk believes his side has what it takes to go all the way when the 2020 AFL Sydney season finally gets underway this Saturday.
Last year the Rams finished the regular season as Minor Premiers of the Platinum Division, but were bungled out of the Finals in straight sets due to injuries to key players.
Now in his fifth year in charge, Kirk is confident that if his side is healthy at the business end of the shortened season, they’ll give the Premiership a real shake.
“I think come Finals time you need your best personnel available and injuries dictate that a fair bit,” he said.
“I’m pretty confident that if we get our best personnel available at the right time of the year we’ll be very hard to beat.”
After a COVID affected pre-season, the Rams will return to the paddock this Saturday when they face Balmain at Marrickville. While Penrith have had the wood over their opponents in recent years, Kirk said anything can happen.
“We’ve beaten them the last five times we’ve played them but it’s always very tough,” he said.
“Balmain will be an improver this year and I think it will be a good test for us first up because they’ve added some new players to their roster.”
With the competition shortened to just nine rounds plus two weeks of Finals, Kirk said it’s important to kick the season off on the right note.
The Rams will welcome back most of their team from last year, including some much-loved familiar faces.
“Big veteran Phil Aumann is back, as is Mitchell Stevens who missed last season with a shoulder injury. He’s keen to get back into it too,” Kirk said.
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.