Blayney Bears sign veteran pivot Steve Lane for 2019 Group 10 season

BACK AS A BEAR: Steve Lane celebrates a try in Blayney's last finals campaign in 2015, he's returning to the Bears to direct traffic this season.
BACK AS A BEAR: Steve Lane celebrates a try in Blayney's last finals campaign in 2015, he's returning to the Bears to direct traffic this season.

Blayney are hinging their hopes of an improved Group 10 Premier League campaign on the shoulders of a veteran pivot and one of the best young forwards in the game in 2019.

Steve Lane has linked with the club again ahead of the Bears' season opener against defending premiers Bathurst Panthers, while Blayney junior Joey Hobby will prop up Ben McKenna's pack this winter after a stint in Penrith's lower grades last year.

McKenna says having Lane on deck for his second stint with the club will help ensure that transition is a smooth one while the 19-year-old forward is the face of a swag of Bear cubs the new Blayney coach says he hopes to help foster through into the top grade in the coming years.

"He's just a real, good old head at the club," the 37-year-old said of Lane, who led the Bears to their last finals appearance in 2015 but has spent the last couple of seasons coaching in the Woodbridge Cup.

"He's been great for the young fellas. He talks to them really well."

McKenna said he's determined to help get Blayney back on course in 2019 following two tumultuous seasons, in which the proud club won just two senior grade games.

"My goal is to win every game, like every coach. You hate losing. It's no good, a terrible feeling. But we still have to rebuild at the same time," he added.

We'll be positive and have a good year, a real good year.

Blayney coach Ben McKenna.

"We've got a few good old players and some great young guys too. Slowly it's happening and happening.

"We'll be positive and have a good year, a real good year."

Blayney's season proper kicks off two weeks earlier than the rest of Group 10 after Panthers proposed to bring their round one clash forward to March 30 to act as the curtain-raiser for the Penrith-Melbourne Storm NRL game at Carrington Park.

The Bears agreed, naturally, and the clash will be played in front of a couple of thousand people after all, with McKenna saying he can't wait for the test.

Joey Hobby

Joey Hobby

"Defending premiers ... I don't mind that," McKenna said.

The experienced front-rower won top grade premierships with Orange CYMS in 2010 and 2011, and with that he knows how hard it will be for the Bathurst side to go back-to-back.

"When you win the grand final teams always come up hard against you. Everyone will want a crack at Panthers and we're the first team to get it," he continued.

"They'll be hard to beat, Panthers."

Blayney take on Panthers on Saturday, March 30 while the rest of the Group 10 competition will begin two weeks later on April 13.