Gulls are ready to go in NRRRL
DESPITE losing a handful of players defending premiers Ballina has retained most of its team for the upcoming Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League season.
The Seagulls biggest losses are five-eighth Alex Grant who has gone back to the Tweed Seagulls in hopes of playing Queensland Cup while lock Michael Dwane has moved to Sydney.
Winger Roger Bartholomew is living in Toowoomba while Tim Foster and Kelly Sironen have moved on after coming off the bench in the grand final last season.
Ballina will still have a handy side with fullback Oliver Regan back for a second season after many years playing Queensland Cup at Burleigh Bears and Redcliffe.
Meanwhile, Liam Anderson returns to the club he won a premiership at in 2014 after three seasons with Evans Head and can play centre, fullback or wing.
Coach Mick Foster is back again after winning a grand final in his first year in the top job.
"We have lost a few players but things are looking pretty promising again,” Foster said. "We went a bit under the radar last year but we'll have a bit more of a target on us this season and it will be game on each week.
"It will be a big few weeks for us first up and we have two tough games to start the season.”
Ballina will play a new-look Mullumbimby at home in the first game of the season on April 8 with halfback Roy Bell playing his first game for the Giants under new coach Dallas Waters.
The Seagulls travel in the second round to play Cudgen in the grand final rematch and there should be no love lost there after some fiery clashes last year.
Ballina has been the success story in the NRRRL in recent years winning four of the last five grand finals under three different coaches.
They have also won back-to-back Under-18s grand finals with first grade made almost entirely of club juniors.
"It's been a big effort from everyone involved and it helps having the right people on the committee all the way down to the players on the field,” Foster said. "We always back our juniors and some of them have come back and played a big part in these teams.”
The Seagulls have scheduled a trial game against Nambucca at Kingsford Smith Park, Ballina on March 24.