Landmark year for fullback
EXCITING Coffs Rugby fullback Will Guest added an extra trophy to his Zone Player of the Year award at the club’s annual presentation dinner.
He was named the best back in first grade, capping off a year that began in the doldrums and ended in spectacular fashion, with the club claiming minor and major premierships.
Unfortunately the club is resigned to losing the fleet-footed custodian, who is tipped to be playing in Queensland next season.
Club president Richard Officer said celebrations for a landmark year were continuing and the honour board was nearly full.
“Like previous years, the season started back in February with rep- resentative games for 15 of our players, pre-season training for others and the eventual successes after a wobbly start with three losses,” he said.
“Having the club back at full strength, with one first-grade team rather than two, is perfect for us.
“In addition, we now have a strong sponsor base, as well as golden oldies and the juniors, which have hundreds of players running around most Friday nights.
“This is the key to our success today and in the future with every- one enjoying rugby.”
First and reserve grade coaches, Geoff Mould and Paul Butcher, were first to praise a splendid effort, with players, coaches, supporters and sponsors enjoying the riches of a great season.
Mould offered special praise for the president, who is basically running a full-time sporting business in the licensed Coffs Rugby Club.
One of the more popular winners was flanker Gav Vanderkly, by far the best and fairest in second grade.
“Only that rookie of the year AJ MacLauchlan was in first grade, Gav would have cemented a regular spot up there,” Butcher said.
“AJ is a Coffs junior but spent many seasons on the sidelines because of injury and work and when the opportunity arose to jump back on the field, he was a stand- out.
“He’s only small in stature but in a position that requires plenty of heart and stamina.
“The flanker had to do much of the hard work that led to many tries late in the game at the back end of the season.”
James Bellamy, in his first year as a full-time prop in first grade, looked like a seasoned professional and Butcher predicted he would go on to be one of Coffs Rugby’s best props and would partner Nick Joyce for years to come.
The club is hoping to retain the services of Mould for next year, after the grand old man of rugby dropped a hint he could be back at the helm.
“Geoff initially signed on for one year only but enjoyed himself so much he might stay on,” Butcher said.
“However, the club will lose president Richard Officer and several key players from first grade.
“Apart from Will, flyhalf Rob Dunmore is working in Forster and scrumhalf Freddy Suaesi is already working in Brisbane.
“The guys are now looking toward the end-of-season trip to Brisbane this weekend to watch the Wallabies play the All Blacks, before embarking on an assault on the rugby title in 2012.”