Club standing strong despite a tough start to season

The Cobar Camels Rugby Union Club has this year named former players and long term club supporters Kevin ‘Rusty’ Mitchell, Darran Wells and Peter Payne and as patrons of the club. The trio are part of a large dedicated committee who are trying to turn the club’s fortunes around. ▪ Photo contributed

After the Cobar Camels recorded their  sixth consecutive loss in the 2019 Western Plains Rugby competition on Saturday to Gulargambone, Cobar Rugby Union Club president Jarrod Marsden admits the club has been doing it tough this season.

Marsden said there are however still a lot of positives for the club off the field.

From the start of the season, the Camels have struggled each week to field a full side.

“We have a majority of players on 7/7 rosters and most of those are on one side of that roster, so every second week is a real struggle,” Marsden explained.

“We also started the year with five of the first seven games on the road, and they include the four longest trips we have (Walgett, Coonamble, Brewarrina, and Gulargambone).

“The club does not blame 7/7 rosters for this problem,” he clarified.

“Mining rosters in some shape or form have been part of life in Cobar for a long time now.

“What we are not seeing is the 5/2 ‘government/university type’ workers.

“The club was always blessed with several school teachers, park rangers, ambulance officers, police officers, engineers etc, etc.

“We simply don’t have that now, so even when we have adequate numbers, we are making nine plus changes to a team every week which simply doesn’t win you games,” he said.

Marsden said this season the club has focussed equally on both recruitment and retention of players.

“We are very mindful of being thankful for the core group of dedicated players we have at the moment as well as attracting new players from both in town and externally, so our efforts have been focussed on getting 5/2 work for players so that we can form a larger core group which doesn’t rely on 7/7 workers being available each week.”

He said while the team has been struggling on the field, from a club point of view, it’s completely the opposite.

“Strangely enough – off the field (and I guess out of the public eye a bit) the Camels are flying in my opinion,” Marsden said.

“We have a wonderful, strong, and vibrant committee.

“We have had the best sponsorship response to the club I have ever seen – which is testament to the vision and values we put into the club.”

He said the club is also in a very good financial position and their long term prospects look excellent.

“I am confident that with the people and players we already have, and the plans we are putting in place for both the short, medium, and long term, we will see a winning Camels team on the back page of The Weekly,” Marsden said.

“It’s never fun losing and playing with low numbers but it builds a certain pride, resilience and willingness to succeed.

“And when it does turn around the guys putting in the hard yards now will feel a great sense of achievement for themselves, the club, and the town,” he said.