Rams ready to rise: Penrith determined to return to Finals

The Rams leap high. Photo: Charlotte White.
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With a new coach at the helm, the Penrith Rams are determined more than ever to return to the Finals for the first time since their premiership-winning season in 2020.

With the 2021 season unable to be completed due to the pandemic and the Rams not able to rack up enough wins in 2022 and 2023 to play in the post-season, it’s been a rough few years for the Penrith Aussie Rules club following a purple patch of form last decade.

But with Rams legend and 2018 premiership winner Jay Edwards taking over the head coaching duties and the mighty Phil Aumann back on deck, 2024 is shaping up to be a year to remember.

Edwards coached a few Rams games late last season after their previous coach resigned midway through the year.

“I remember going down to watch some games last year and noticed the captains were running the board and I said, ‘Listen, I’m here, how about I give you a hand?’ and the last handful of games I helped out and it naturally progressed into ‘let’s do this properly’,” Edwards told the Weekender.

“I’ve coached junior teams in the past but this is different, it’s a lot more serious.”

Edwards said the one glaring thing he noticed last season was the Rams’ lack of fitness, which ultimately resulted in them losing many games due to simply running out of puff.

The Rams defeat Orange in the pre-season. Photo: Charlotte White.

“We were in games but then we either got pipped at the post or were beaten by quicker, stronger opponents,” he said.

When pre-season training began last November, Edwards was determined to make his squad one of the fittest in the competition and, in order to do that, he needed to “shock” them.

“I ran pre-season pretty hard compared to what they are used to because sport now, in my opinion, is all about speed, athleticism and fitness,” Edwards said.

“I ran them ragged for a few months – we didn’t touch a ball until six weeks ago. Everyone is feeling good about their body and the game plans this year will be unlike any seen at Penrith before.”

The Penrith Rams will field three teams this season – first grade, who will play in Men’s Division 2; reserve grade, who will play in Men’s Division 5; and the Ramettes, who will play in Women’s Division 2.

After last weekend’s season opener was washed out, the Rams will now open their 2024 AFL Sydney campaign against Southern Power this Saturday at Waratah Oval in Sutherland.

“Our team will be in a better spot this season as Men’s Division 2 is a slight demotion from where we’ve been playing previously (Platinum Division),” Edwards said.

“I’m not a huge tactician, my message is simple – just run and once your taxed, come off, get your lungs back and then go again.”

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