North Wales Crusaders winger Gavin Conroy is eager for the new campaign to get underway as he embarks on his second season as a semi-professional player.
While the majority of League 1 clubs kick-off their seasons this weekend, Crusaders have to wait until Sunday, February 24, when they travel to Cumbria to face Workington Town.
Conroy made the step up from the amateur game ahead of the 2018 season and adapted quickly, crossing for eight tries in 20 appearances.
With a full year under his belt in the professional ranks, he can’t wait for the season to start and is hoping to play a big part for North Wales.
“It’s been a really tough pre-season and I’m feeling pretty fit,” Conroy said.
“Going from amateur to semi-professional is what I expected. It’s a massive step up in quality.
“I think I’ve got a lot more experience and confidence now.
“I just want to improve on last season and have even more confidence in my ability.
“I want to play as many games as I can and do my job. I hope I can put in a lot of carries and get over for some tries.
“We’ve had a good flogging in pre-season and I can’t wait to get going.”
On Crusaders’ aims for the new campaign, he said: “We need to be at the top end of the table.
“We’ve had a full pre-season under Muzza and I think we’re looking a lot stronger.
“Although Widnes ran away with the friendly match a bit in the end, we had a good dig and we were in the game at half-time.
“If we play like that, we’ll push a lot of the teams in our league.
“It’s a tough start against Workington next weekend. They’ve got a strong squad and they’ll have a game already under their belts.
“But it’s sometimes better to start with a difficult game as it’ll show us where we are.”
Crusaders’ opening home match in League 1 is against Oldham at Queensway Stadium at 2.30pm on Sunday, March 3.
#CHALLENGE800 has been launched for the game, aiming to get at least 800 fans down to support the lads.