Blake Enever says the University of Canberra Vikings squad has worked hard through the pre-season and is ready to fire ahead of the side’s season opening matchup against the NSW Country Eagles on Saturday.
Enever moved to the ACT from Queensland following the 2014 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC) season. A member of the inaugural Queensland Country side, Enever played four games in last year’s competition and crossed for one try.
The former Australian U20 representative will play for the University of Canberra Vikings in 2015 following a solid first season with the Aquis Brumbies in Super Rugby. He says he’s excited ahead of the UC Vikings first game of the 2015 NRC, which will be played this Saturday against Eagles.
Although the starting side won’t be named until later this week, Enever is confident it will be a strong outfit.
“There’s a good bunch of blokes coming from club rugby and we’ve got a good amount of players from our Super Rugby squad,” Enever said.
“It’s a good balance but come game one we are all just going to be putting on a Vikings jersey.”
Enever says the players with Super Rugby experience are playing leading roles at training, as the Vikings aim to improve on last year’s two wins, two draws and four losses.
“They demand a certain standard,” Enever said.
“A lot of the club blokes are hitting that.
“There’s a good, even playing field within the squad everyone’s putting pressure on for positions.
“It’s great to have a number of Brumbies blokes in the team.”
Enever, a Sunshine Coast product, will be looking to maintain the form he finished the 2015 Super Rugby season with. The 24-year old was called into the Brumbies starting side late in the season when Wallabies Lock Sam Carter suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Carter played for NSW Country in the opening round victory over the Greater Sydney Rams in the opening round. It’s doubtful he will be named to take on the UC Vikings due to his selection in an extended Wallabies squad for the test against the USA Eagles in Chicago on 5 September.
Enever’s performances in the starting XV for the Brumbies didn’t go unnoticed – he was voted the Brumbies’ best in the side’s semi-final loss to the Hurricanes in Wellington. He was named the joint recipient of the Shawn MacKay Most Outstanding Young Talent at the end of season Brumby Ball (the other recipient was UC Vikings teammate Rory Arnold).
Enever says he watched NSW Country’s nail-biting win over Greater Sydney Rams over the weekend and says the competition is a lot closer this year than 2014.
“A lot of the games so far have been very close and a lot of points are being scored,” he said.
“The NRC brand of rugby is something that is very exciting and it can only improve.”
Enever says there has already been plenty of friendly banter between the Brumbies players within the Vikings squad and Michael Dowsett and Tom Staniforth who will line up for NSW Country on Saturday.
“They’re around here every now and then and we do throw it around a bit,” Enever said.
“It’s the only chance you get throughout the year because you are in each other’s pocket for the other nine months.
“You’ve got to throw a bit and you get a bit back so it’s all a lot of fun.”
The UC Vikings will begin their 2015 NRC campaign against the NSW Country Eagles at Woollahra Oval on Saturday at 3pm.
The side’s first home match will be at Viking Park, Wanniassa, on 5 September against Greater Sydney Rams.