DETERMINATION: Ryan ready to take game to the next level
CRICKET: There has not been a day go by this offseason that boom Tucabia-Copmanhurst opener Blake Ryan has not thought about cricket.
In fact, the Woodford Island teen can count the number of days he wasn't training for the season on both hands. That is the level of dedication he has given toward improving.
Ryan picked up The Daily Examiner Rookie of the Year award at the end of last season, but he said he cannot rest on his laurels, with the impending 2018/19 season throwing a whole set of new challenges.
"I do feel a bit more at home after getting through a whole season last year, but I also have a bit to live up to now,” he said.
"The nerves going into a new season will always be there, if you aren't nervous you don't care enough.”
Ryan said he spent plenty of time in the nets and with a stocking and ball in the backyard at home perfecting his swing, as he aims to lead his Tucabia side from the top of the order.
"There is no way I will be giving that up,” he said. "I love getting to open the batting, and I feel like I am hitting the ball better out of the middle heading into this season.
"We might have recruited well in the off-season on the bowlers front, but we still need to score runs. I think our effort with the bat let us down a few times last year, and I do wear that a lot. If I am not scoring runs, I am not doing my job for the team.”
It will be a new-look Tucabia GI Hotel in their opening clash against Coutts Crossing at Ulmarra Showground this weekend, with Westlawn convert Rohan Hackett joining a four-man seam attack alongside Chris Adamson, captain Brad Chard and Brayden Pardoe.
It will make it the best attack in the GDSC Premier League in more than a decade, with the four bowlers taking a combined 114 wickets last season.
"I am glad I don't have to face that attack that's for sure,” Ryan said. "I definitely think we will be up there with the side we have put together.
"It is a much different competition this season, but I still think Brothers will be one of the biggest threats.”
Brothers will kick off their season against the other Tucabia first grade side, which will be captained by Jaye Yardy, at Ellem Oval.
In the other match a new-look Westlawn goes up against South Services at Lower Fisher Turf.