The Forster Tuncurry Dolphins will celebrate their return to rugby union in the Lower Mid North Coast region with involvement in the helter-skelter tournament of seven-a-side football at next month's Crescent Head Sevens carnival, scheduled for February 27.
Organised by the Kempsey Cannonballs, the day-long carnival has become the zone's traditional rugby opener for the season on the coast, with the Lower Mid North Coast's premiership competition beginning on April 17.
The Dolphins' coach, Ron McCarthy, has been in contact with Dolphins players, saying while official training will begin in the first week of February, he expects the physical demands of sevens rugby to have players jogging and starting training immediately.
"It's back to business next month," he said.
"There's no mercy in seven-a-side football. It's been devised to be fast and spectacular. And you have to be good to survive, and fit to win. So players would be well advised to get cracking."
The Mid North Coast zone's new executive director, Bruce Worboys, said: "The Kempsey Cannonballs' carnival signals the start of rugby union each winter on the coast. It is a popular way for the rugby code to begin and has great spectator appeal.
"The Lower Mid North Coast premiership competition will commence on April 17 with six clubs taking part. Manning River, Forster Tuncurry, Gloucester, Old Bar, Wallamba and Wauchope have all nominated men and women's teams for the 2021 season."
The Cannonballs have yet to release their program for the sevens tournament, but it usually requires each team to qualify for the semi-final play-offs through a three-game preliminary series.
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The expectation is that Mark Hagarty will again captain the Dolphins after he led the team with distinction through its unbeaten premiership year in 2019 before the club decided to abandon last winter's Kennards Hire premiership season because of concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.
One player coach McCarthy expects to have an outstanding season is hefty utility forward, Blake Polson, whose pace and strength were so important in the Dolphins' charge to the 2019 premiership.
The Lower Mid North Coast premiership draw is expected to be released by the end of January.
New players are welcome and should make contact with local clubs through their Facebook sites.
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