Nathan Charles: on the excitement of the Western Force starting a new season

It’s difficult to sum up the feelings of this week. Excited. Nervous. Impatient.

It’s like we’re situated on the starting grid; our foot is revving the engine, eyeing off the other drivers and waiting for that green light to shine.

While many of us have been in this situation before, it does little to suppress the feeling of just wanting to get out onto the field for the start of a new season and rip in.

Pre-season training has again been tough but productive. We have again worked through a considerable amount of content, often in the searing temperatures, in preparation for the season ahead.

As we’ve begun to reach the crescendo of our pre-season and approached our first game, there’s no doubt the intensity has also risen. Competition for positions within the team is fierce.

Drills to be done at 70 per cent creep into the 80s and 90s. Semi-contact sessions become contact sessions, and cuts, bruises and black eyes sustained in training are commonplace within the squad as we all push towards our first match.

In the past three weeks we’ve had a series of trial matches against the Brumbies, Perth Spirit and Asia Pacific Dragons. While these provide a valuable match experience and the opportunity to fine tune some areas, it’s just not the same as the real thing.

The only thing tempering our bull-at-a-gate enthusiasm is all of us – coaches and players – wanting to ensure that every “I” has been dotted and “T” crossed.

Even yesterday we were talking among the group in terms of how quickly the new season is upon us. The flipside is how quickly it will be gone and how we must make the most of each opportunity.

This weekend we take on the NSW Waratahs in Sydney. This is an exciting opportunity for us to test ourselves – and what better way to do that than against the reigning champions.

At our corresponding match in Sydney last season, the Tahs came out all guns blazing from the first whistle – and we were left to chase the game – something you cannot afford to do.

Just six matches later, back at home at the “Force Field” (nib Stadium), we were able show increased composure and – with three tries from the “Honey Badger” – we were able to turn the result around.

On Sunday, big Sam Wykes will lead us out onto the field for the first time, which is great recognition for one of the leaders within the group who has given a great deal to the club and the team over the past seven seasons.

With Wykesy at the helm, what we all know is that we have trained and prepared for the moment that will greet us in Sydney on Sunday afternoon. We know we must be ready for the intensity and physicality from the outset.

And with the smell of Dencorub lingering around the dressing room and patter of studs on the tunnel floor accompanying us onto the field, I can tell you we are all very excited that the Super Rugby season is here for another year!

Until next week, Nathan Charles Follow WAtoday on Twitter

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