TORRENS Valley Rams have predicted a tough season ahead after the 2012 season fixtures were released by the South Australian Amateur Football League last week.
The Rams are one of four teams left from last year’s division four competition and go into this year facing the ‘unknown’, with matches against eight new teams spread across a massive 22 match season.
2011 captain Jeremy Byrnes said the ambiguity that surrounded the new teams this season would pose a problem for Torrens Valley.
“We’ve got a strong squad together, but it’s going to be tough, especially with so many teams we have never played against,” Byrnes said.
“We can’t take anything for granted this year.
“We need to go out, do our best, and hope that at the end of the season we’re at the pointy end of the league table.”
Although the Rams ended season 2011 in a modest fifth place of nine teams, they only boasted two wins against teams that finished above them in the table.
They also drew two games with Greenock Town, the team that lost every game it played against each of the top four teams.
The 12 team competition this year is a significant improvement on 2011, where poor competition management saw only nine teams contest division four, some even without a seemingly required Reserves team.
This meant the Rams Reserves team only played 11 games for the season despite a second place finish on the table.
2011 champions Strathalbyn join St Peters and Hazara in the third division, while Flinders University (2) stays in division four because its first and second teams remain in the competition above.
Last year’s cellar dwellers Mantarays have moved to Sunday division five, while Adelaide University Orange changes to Grey and drops to division five as a single team.
Torrens Valley kick its season off on April 21 against Flinders University away.
Last time these two teams met at the same venue, Flinders outclassed the Rams’ first team 3-0 and the Reserves 4-0.
Byrnes recalled how the results at Flinders University in the latter part of 2011 were a stark contrast to the reverse fixture earlier in the season when at Birdwood Park, the Reserves hailed 6-0 and the A team 4-1.
“This is definitely a tough first up assignment,” Byrnes said.
“Last year we played well at home against them and then away, things went pear shaped.”
Torrens Valley will miss Joe Harvey and Jeff Flynn through suspension for the first round match.
Flynn was sent off in the final match of last season and Harvey accumulated a lazy four yellow cards across 16 games in 2011.
The second round will see the Rams host the Northern Pitbulls and then their bogey team Greenock the subsequent matchday.
The weekend of May 12 and 13 will feature the Reserves team in the first cup round, with the draw to be determined once the preliminary round is played on April 14 and 15.
In round four the Rams visit Glenunga Reserve to play Old Ignations, a team they have shared pleasantries with, in the past.
A home tie against the Angkor looms on May 26, with a road trip to fellow maroon-ers Mount Compass to follow a week later.
They then can then look forward to a match against East Adelaide at home before a visit to Ukrainian outfit USC Lions.
Adelaide University are welcomed back to Birdwood Park on June 30 and the Rams will hope to replicate the same 2011 result– an 8-nil spanking.
A trip across the mountains to One Tree Hill and a contest at home with Parafield Gardens (2) rounds off the schedule for the first half of the year.
The reverse fixtures wind up on Saturday September 30.
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