When you look back at the South Perth Lions’ 2018 WA Smarter Than Smoking Premiership season, there is no doubt that a slow start to the year cost them a top two finish.

The Lions took a while to get going last year, losing four of their first six games as they were playing catch-up to the North Beach Sea Eagles and Fremantle Roosters from the off-set.

A long-time powerhouse of WA rugby league, South Perth soon kicked into gear – winning their final seven games of the season before running into a strong North Beach side in the Preliminary Final.

That was last year, however, and the Lions are back and keen to go a couple of steps further in 2019.

Led by Player/Coach Daniel Green, the Lions have recruited solidly to put themselves in the mix for Premiership glory.

“There can only be one winner and we want to be that team,” Green said.

“We’re like any other team – we want to win.”

Will Smith will join the South Perth Lions in 2019
Credit: Tom Campbell

With the arrivals of South African international Will Smith, Conor Hudson and Brandon Wright from the Rockingham Sharks, coupled with a strong returning core of captain Eddie Proudler, Isaac Thomas and Harry Debique, the Lions have high hopes for 2019 despite losing leader Scott Jones.

“The new coaches have started really well and we’ve recruited a couple of good young guys – we’re looking for a promising season,” skipper Proudler said.

Young-gun Kade McDonald, who led the Lions with 18 tries last season also returns after a stint with Tweed Seagulls Hasting Deering Colts team at the start of the year and is expected to start the season at fullback despite the emergence of former West Coast Pirates teammate Will Smith who will line up in the centres.

South Perth get their 2019 season underway at home against the Rockingham Sharks this Saturday, May 4 where they will be without the injured Isaac Thomas.

Key additions: Will Smith, Connor Hudson, Brandon Wright

Key losses: Scott Jones

Round 1 lineup:

1.Kade McDonald, 2. Josh Anstis, 3. Will Smith, 4. Ethan Gourgard, 5. Akua Robert, 6. Eddie Proudler (c), 7. Harry Debique, 8. Cody Laughton, 9. Caleb Norton, 10. Kiam Fletcher, 11. Daniel Green, 12. Brandon Wright, 13. Jarrad Smith, 14. Wessel Van Tonder, 15. Blair Young, 16. Blair Wiseman, 17. Billy Judge

Coach – Daniel Green