HAWK EYE: New Panthers coach Todd Barrow has one eye on his side’s clash with the two blues ahead of the 2015 Group 10 season.WHEN Todd Barrow begins another chapter in his footballing career as coach of Bathurst Panthers next season he would naturally love to guide the side to a Group 10 premiership, but there are two games he is looking forward to before the finals roll around.
Barrow would love to not only beat his old club Orange Hawks in their first meeting of 2015, but he wants to take first bragging rights amongst the two Bathurst sides as well.
The official Group 10 premier league draw was released earlier this week and it will see Panthers do battle with tradition rivals and current defending champions St Pats’s in round three at Carrington Park.
“That’s one of the games I am looking forward to, it will be great if it is anything like the Orange derby,” he said of the April 26 match.
“I love playing derbies, they are one of my favourite things about footy.
“Being in Orange as long as I have it probably will not be the same as derbies over there, but once I get around the Bathurst boys and start training with them, it will probably start to feel more the same.”
Barrow will have a longer wait before he gets to take on his former club, with Panthers not scheduled to meet Hawks until round round eight.
But as is the case with Barrow’s first Bathurst derby, that match will come in front of his new home crowd at Carrington Park as well.
Given Panthers are the team that ended Hawks’ 2014 season, the men in black posting a 30-22 win in the first week of finals, the match will no doubt carry some additional spice.
“It will be good to play against some of my old mates again,” Barrow said.
“It’s obviously a game I want to win, it would be nice to get one up on them first up. So that and the derby are the two games I am looking forward to and want to get up in.”
Panthers are the first team in the 2015 competition to have the bye, but that does not trouble Barrow.
With two trial matches in the works, a possible West Wyalong knockout appearance and the annual Bathurst Panthers knockout on the cards before the start of the Group 10 competition on April 12, Barrow’s men should not be short on football.
“I suppose you have got to take it [bye] at some point, getting it first is just one of those things and it doesn’t really worry me, it just gives us an extra week to prepare for the season,” the coach said.
“We’ve got a trial planned against Goulburn, they are a very strong side and it will be a good trial for us to see where we are at and the Bathurst knockout will give us a good chance to see what we’ve got compared to everyone else, hopefully we’ll get two or three games in that.
“We could possibly go to West Wyalong and I am good mates with Adam Hall who coaches the Wagga ‘Roos and he is pretty keen to have a trial match against us too.”
Barrow will not start pre-season training with his new club until the second week of January.
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