Diss Rugby Club have a great mindset going into their first game of the year as they prepare to face second-placed Brentwood, according to head coach Dave Smith.
The London One North side finished the first half of the season on a high as they beat promotion-hopeful Colchester 26-22 on home soil.
And that result, Smith hopes, will spur the side on to more consistent winning form in the second half of the season, starting away to Brentwood tomorrow (2pm).
“Obviously it (was) a great result against Colchester,” Smith said.
“And it shows us what we are capable of as a team. We can play any of the teams in our league and win.
“It’s disappointing that we haven’t been doing this from week to week so far and we’ve lost several games we shouldn’t have — and that’s why we aren’t higher up the league table.
“But we have the quality to compete with the top sides and that’s what I want to see more of in the rest of our games.
“We got it right tactically against Colchester as well, we identified their weak points and did well at exploiting them.
“And that’s something that we want to do again.
“Ending the year on a win has put us in a great position to attack the second half of the season.”
He admitted that the team began the season in a less positive frame of mind, with an aim to survive rather than thrive.
But, as the season — and results — have increasingly gone their way, the Mackenders side have upped their vision, as they look to ‘rebuild and consolidate their position in the league’.
Smith said: “I think we’ve done well to prove ourselves at this level.
“The next year will see Diss look to develop further, for the long-term future of the club.”
The three-week hiatus will have allowed some of his injured players some time to recuperate, which Smith says will also help at the start of 2018.
“It’s just the way it is in this league,” he said. “It’s hard and players get hurt. We’ve already used 35 to 40 players this season, but the break will give us some of them back.
“Having a full bench is good for competition in the side, it drives the players to work harder for their place and so creates a better team overall.”
He added that the main aim is to ‘keep winning’, as he targets ‘points from every game at the very least’ — looking to climb above their current ninth position in the London One North table.
They are six points adrift of Old Priorians in eighth place but only three points above Ruislip just behind them.
“Sometimes you have to ‘eek’ out a win,” he said.
“You have to work hard and keep your head down and get the points, even when it’s not a pretty game.
“And that’s what we’re going to be doing in 2018, keeping our heads down and targeting every point possible.”