Magpies to start afresh

By GREG WHITE

AN emotional plea by former champion player and coach Maurie Hulbert has stiffened the resolve of the Bellinger Valley - Dorrigo Rugby League Club to dig themselves out of their current malaise.

Addressing 29 supporters at Diggers Tavern on Monday night Hulbert said while he'd been born 'out west in the bush' he'd come to consider the club 'home' and one of his life's passions.

"After being part of four premierships they asked me to take the coaching role," he said.

"We finished second last but of all the years I played that was the most fulfiling.

"You couldn't put a price on the fun we had as players, committee and supporters."

Responding to Hulbert's appeal to start afresh the Magpies will hold their annual general meeting on July 24 to elect an executive and steering committee charged with returning the club to full participation in Group 2.

"The current executive aren't to blame for what went wrong in the past," Hulbert stressed.

"Problem was there were too few of them to do the work necessary to keep a modern football organisation afloat.

"People have to lend a hand and be forthcoming with fresh ideas and that includes many I played with who've faded into the background."

Now the secretary of Beautizone junior rugby league, Hulbert believes the club must search for a quantity of players and allow the quality to filter to the surface over time.

"Get that core group of seven or eight first graders playing with other clubs back into the fold and build around them," he said.

"They may get a few hidings at first but if made to feel they matter it won't be a problem."

"Miracles won't happen overnight so we have to make this a long term project for the ongoing security of the club."

Bellingen junior president Allan Kenny agreed the road ahead would be difficult with junior registrations falling by a third in 2006 with the added complication of no teams representing the club in under 15's or 16's.

"We must go further afield and break into places like Urunga," he said.

"There are kids down there doing nothing and we have to get them playing league.

"And while soccer seems to have a stranglehold in that area we have to get together and take them head on."

Attending the meeting in his first official role as Country Rugby League's Area Regional Manager, Scott Bone advised every effort would be made to assist the Magpies under the CRL mentoring scheme.

No mention of amalgamation with another club was made on the night.



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