Coach to bring back running rugby
ONLY a handful of rugby league cronies who bunker down with your scribbler at Group 2 grounds understand one’s fondness for taking a trip to the dark side each Saturday afternoon.
It’s such a joy to head out to Coffs Coast Advocate Rugby Union Park to mingle with the dreaded rah-rahs . . . the leather-patch brigade . . . the amateur code . . . among the few publishable names given to rugger buggers by their cousins in the ‘mungo’ mob.
A lot of leaguies reckon rugby is rubbish (and vice-versa) but once you put aside your personal prejudices and concentrate on celebrating the unique, subtle difference between the two, you can learn to love both.
Group 2 will continue to stumble on along its increasingly fractured path each Sunday.
But things won’t be the same on winter Saturdays with Coffs Rugby now condensed from two distinct outfits, to one first grade team.
No longer will we be asked to pledge support to either the Breakers or Crushers.
Instead, it’s one size fits all due to falling short on laws designed for the safety of players.
Each side must have five recognised (and qualified) front row forwards and with only 15 left in the club to service four teams, it was decided one of the top grades had to be cut.
While all this was going on, Port Pirates discarded one of their first grade outfits and South West Rocks dropped back to seconds as well. . . leaving not much more than a ‘pub comp’ remaining.
It could have been a total disaster until Coffs Rugby pulled off a masterstroke last Friday.
The worst-kept sporting secret in town was made public when it was announced that 77-year-old Geoff Mould was appointed coach the side.
Geoff who . . . one’s league friends (and enemies) may ask?
Well, baby boomers of a certain vintage should cast their minds back to the 1970s and recall that while Parramatta and St George where rampaging through the league world, a bunch of rugby union players named Lewis, Melrose, Hawker, O’Connor and Ella were setting the sporting world alight on their side of the fence.
Lewis became King Wally and the Ella brothers became walking, talking legends.
And the bloke behind all this?
Well, it was Geoff Mould.
He promised in his first interview to play ‘running rugby’ and as anybody who knows the implications of those two words will tell you, there’s excitement in the air and shivers up the spine in expectation.
A smell of liniment . . . the scent of battle . . . and the promise of magic once the rucks and mauls have been cleared.
Rugby Park – Saturday afternoons – winter of 2011.
Bring it on!