PLAYER-boss George Elliott says Heworth ARLC can't wait to face cross-city foes again after enjoying a super start to the Yorkshire Men's League campaign.
The Black and Whites went without a victory in the pre-season Forty-20 Cup - including falling to neighbours New Earswick, who have gone on to reach the final - but they have since won both their league games to take early leadership of division one.
On Saturday they face another derby at home to York Acorn 'A' (2.30pm) and, while Elliott reckons they are underdogs as the club continue to rebuild, he is confident they can continue their 100 per cent record - and gain local bragging rights.
"Everyone is mates with everyone else but for 80 minutes there's a lot of dislike out there," he said of the derby clashes that abound in YML division one this year. Indeed this fixture will be preceded by an 'A' team clash between Heworth and New Earswick at noon.
"For young lads bragging rights mean a lot.
"We were disappointed after the All Blacks cup fixture - we didn't play as well as we could. But it'll be interesting how we fair in the more important league fixtures.
"Jack Stearman (All Blacks player-coach) has a good team who'll be hard to beat and they'll be on a high after beating North Hull in the cup, but it'll be interesting to see who between us finishes up there. You can't rule Acorn out either."
He added: "Everyone is up for this weekend. We've ripped into training and everyone's buzzing. All they're talking about is Acorn.
"As a club we've not beaten them for a while, we've not really had the squad. But if we turn up with this squad now in the right frame of mind, we can win this. We can't wait.
"We don't want to get lost in the occasion and get dragged down. If we stay focused with the team we've got, I can't see us getting beat."
He added: "Heworth are always underdogs, with Acorn as a club being up there and All Blacks hashtagging 'nextbestthing' on social media.
"We don't mind that, it's fine by us. We just want to keep churning out good results and let the rugby do the talking."
Elliott hailed the recent return to action of veteran former Yorkshire packman Wayne Foster, while additions such as York City Knights reserve threequarter Adam Dent have boosted the ranks.
"We're still a young team - the average age is about 23 - although we've got Fozzie back after snapping an elbow last year and he raised the average up to about 28.
"He's 41 now and you can't give him big minutes but he does bring that experience.
"We've got a good bench, better than last year, with the likes of Chris Varley back and other players to come in who are more than capable of holding their own.
"It gives you the chance to spell people rather than giving them stupid minutes they can't do.
"With Lewis Brown and Liam Jackson at half-back - they must be the best pairing in this division - and people running off them, and with the likes of (former Knights reserve) Liam Richmond in the second row, we've got some frightening players at this level."
He added: "I'm not making excuses but for the North Hull Knights (cup) game we had 15 first-teamers unavailable.
"It was similar for Bentley and, although we got a few back for New Earswick, there were still a few missing.
"Then for West Hull in the league, suddenly we get everyone back.
"Quite a few of the old boys, the Masters, came down for that game, and said it was the best Heworth have played for a while, which is a positive for us.
"Everyone is turning up with a spring in their step."
Meanwhile, York Lokomotive kick off their division four campaign away to Sheffield Hawks on Saturday (2.30pm).