Taralga Tigers ready for title defence in 2019

In the lead-up to the Taralga Tigers' 20th season, preparations have begun for their premiership defence.

Winners: The Tigers are looking to back up their premiership victory from last season in 2019, and preparations are well underway. Photo: Zac Lowe.

Winners: The Tigers are looking to back up their premiership victory from last season in 2019, and preparations are well underway. Photo: Zac Lowe.

Having won the South Coast Monaro Second Division in a breathtaking grand final against the Bungendore Mudchooks last year, the team now knows that there is a target on its back.

"The boys are well aware of what it takes to win the competition, so we've just got to continue to put the hard work in," Tigers coach Evan Rees said.

"Obviously all the other teams in the comp are going to want a piece of us this year, they'll want our scalp. So we've got to see how we respond to being top dog, [when] everyone wants to beat you."

The Tigers will not play a trial match this year, as Rees said that they have some advantages and some disadvantages.

"Most of our boys have played together, we've got a fair bit of continuity there," Rees said.

"It's just making sure they're fit and ready to go on the 30th I guess."

On March 30, Taralga will kick off its campaign against the Braidwood Redbacks.

Although Braidwood finished last in 2018, Rees is careful not to underestimate his opponents.

"They look like they've recruited pretty strongly from all reports," Rees said.

"We can't really take anyone lightly … You've gotta respect your opponent, and they only need a half a dozen new faces in the team and they can make a big difference."

The Redbacks have brought in Anthony Hayes to coach the side, who has a wealth of experience from Canberra First Grade thanks to stints coaching Wests, Uni-Norths, and most recently, the Gungahlin Eagles.

This makes Braidwood a largely unknown quantity, and Rees knows better than to take past records for granted at the beginning of a new season. 

Having been re-established in 2000, the Tigers are organising a celebration of its 20th year in the competition.

In round three, Taralga will take on the Crookwell Dogs in Taralga for the Upper Lachlan Shire Cup, and the club will use the fixture against its fiercest rivals as an opportunity to celebrate the milestone.

The day will begin with some junior fixtures, before a highly-anticipated clash between Taralga's Men of Paws and Crookwell's Dated Dogs - two sides made up by former first grade players who will return to the field to reignite their competitive spirits. 

This will be followed by the main event, the first grade clash between the Taralga Tigers and the Crookwell Dogs.

Taralga currently hold the cup after their razor-thin semi-finals victory, 20-18. The celebrations will be held in round three, on April 13. 

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