Stags raring to go ahead of new campaign

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HEMEL Stags are busy preparing for the start of their 2012 National Conference League season, which gets under way at Pennine Way on Saturday against last season’s champions Huddersfield Underbank Rangers.

The Stags have been promoted to the semi-professional ranks of Championship 1 for 2013, and head coach Troy Perkins is using the 2012 NCL season has an extensive player recruitment and development programme.

With the club being restricted to a maximum of two overseas players in their 25-man 2013 Championship squad, the search is on for local players with sufficient aptitude and ability to handle the demands of semi-pro rugby league.

Stags have already recruited well, with the current squad being one of the youngest for some time thanks to an influx of players developed from university rugby league.

The club will also be looking to bring back some of the 18 former Stags junior and youth players who are now playing for either Super League or Championship clubs.

In the meantime, two excellent pre-season run-outs saw Stags defeat local rivals St Albans Centurions 40-6 and Coventry Bears 56-20.

Stags will be hoping to build on those wins with victory over Huddersfield at Pennine Way on Saturday.