Former Bulldogs backrower Jamie Feeney, who is now a Melbourne Storm player, will debut for the Storm's feeder club, North Sydney, in the NSWRL Premier League tomorrow.
North Sydney’s Premier League team has been given a timely boost as it confronts an early and size-able test of its credibility under the new regime of Gary Freeman.
Melbourne Storm recruit Jamie Feeney will make his first official appearance for the Bears when they head to Wollongong tomorrow evening for a meeting with St George Illawarra.
The experienced ex-Bulldogs backrower played in Norths’ last trial game against Balmain but missed the opening premiership match against Parramatta, in which the Bears’ registered an encouraging 28-24 victory.
His presence, along with fellow Storm boys Ian Donnelly and Jeremiah Pai, gives the Bears a more formidable appearance as they prepare to head south to tackle the Dragons, who were Premier League runners-up to the Sydney Roosters less than six months ago.
“Having those (Melbourne) first graders on board really helps everyone lift,” said Norths captain Anthony Kiro.
“They know what it takes to get to the next level and that professionalism rubs off on every one.”
The North Sydney outfit that runs onto WIN Stadium will bear no resemblance to the one that was that humbled 44-12 in the club’s last appearance on the sea side arena.
This time they expect a vastly different outcome — one that will make the rest of the competition realise that the 2005 version of the Bears is the real deal.
“Playing a team like St George is a good yardstick for us, so it should be interesting to see how we go, but I’ve gotta say that we’re very confident going into it,” said Kiro.
“Sure, it will be a test for us, but so was Parramatta because they had a couple of first graders as well and also made last year’s semis, but believe me, that (win) was no fluke everyone played out of their skins.
“There’s probably still a lot of people that think North Sydney are easybeats, but they’re going to find out that things have changed.
“There’s an awesome feeling in the club and the boys are starting to believe in each other.
“The morale is very high at the moment after that Parramatta game.”
The Bears were rewarded for downing the Eels by having three days of training while they had last weekend’s bye.
Even though the season is young, Freeman felt it would freshen his troops up after six days a week of solid training over the summer in preparation for 2005.
The Premier League game kicks off at 5.3Opm, following the Jersey Flegg at 3.SOpm.
North Sydney’s Harold Matthews Shield (under-l6s) and SG Ball Cup (under-18s) units will take on the Bulldogs at Belmore Sports Ground tomorrow after noon.
The first three rounds have delivered mixed results for the Bears’ two youngest sides.
The under-l6s have had a win, loss and draw, while the under-l8s are still searching for their maiden win.