Marlins return to first grade
SOUTHERN Cross University Marlins Rugby is set to shake up the Coffs Harbour Rugby competition when it returns to first grade in 2012.
It will be the first time the Marlins have been in the first-grade competition for more than a decade.
Club secretary Simon Donald was adamant his side would not be there just to make up the numbers.
"We plan on being extremely competitive and have set ourselves the goal of making the finals," Donald said.
"Last year the reserve-grade side made the final and performed well all year so we believe we are setting realistic targets."
Donald said that the return to first grade is the final stage of a long development process for the club.
"Re-entering first grade for the 2012 season is the final stage of the club's three-year plan," he said.
"After entering a reserve-grade side in 2010 and an under-19 side in 2011 we feel the club is now in a strong enough position to finally make the move back to first grade."
SCU Rugby is preparing to commence its recruitment drive and Donald said that the club will begin the search close to home.
"As well as the Coffs rugby community we believe the university itself should be our first point of call," he said.
"On top of recruiting from outside, we hope a number of players from our reserve-grade side will be able to make the step up."
The Marlins reserve-grade outfit was based at Bishop Druitt College in season 2011 but the club is now searching for a bigger home for 2012.
"The club is currently looking at a number of options to use as our home ground for next season," Donald said.
"One option we are looking to explore is using Advocate Rugby Park as our base but that is just one possibility."