The Roosters will drop out of the Group 11 rugby league competition this season and will work to regroup in an effort to return to the competition next year.
The Cobar Senior Rugby League committee was forced to make the tough decision about the club’s future at a closed committee meeting last Wednesday night as the club was struggling with player numbers.
At a trial match in Narromine a fortnight ago, the Roosters were only able to round up a squad of 18 players to contest three grades of football.
First Grade coach Ben Simon said he’d had commitments from more than 30 players prior to the Narromine trials however only 18 showed up to play on the day.
He said of the 42 senior players registered this season, eight work seven on/seven off rosters (and would only be available every second weekend to play), five are from Brewarrina and three players were injured during the preseason game against Narromine.
There are also only seven players signed up this season for their Under 18s team.
At last week’s confidential committee meeting new club president Glenn Davis, (who took over from past president John Claus due to work commitments) said he believes they need another 50 players to be able to cover First, Reserves and Under 18s.
Davis said the club has tried hard to get more players to commit however it looks like all avenues to recruit players have been exhausted.
Group 11 Rugby League Committee secretary Ross McDermott was an invited guest to last week’s meeting and offered advice to the club on their options for the coming season.
McDermott said he didn’t want to see the Cobar club go.
“It’s a loss for us whichever way you look at it,” he said.
McDermott agreed with the Roosters committee that more work needs to be done by Country Rugby League on the development of the sport in the western area.
“We need more development officers, more support and more administration out here.”
McDermott told the committee that Group 11 has mandated that all clubs must field four sides for the competition, First Grade, Reserve Grade, Under 18s and Ladies League Tag.
At the meeting the Roosters committee determined the club would not be able to field four teams and therefore would not be able to commit to play in Group 11 this season.
Other playing options were looked at including the Castlereagh League, however McDermott said it was not a viable option as the competition was about to commence.
The committee voted to make an application to join the Barwon Darling Cup amateur competition between Bourke, Collarenebri, Brewarrina, Walgett and Lightning Ridge with the idea of fielding one senior men’s team and a women’s League Tag side only for the 2016 competition.
McDermott said given the circumstances Group 11 would be open to releasing the Roosters for 12 months.
He said while the competition in the Barwon Darling competition is not as strong as Group 11 at least the Cobar players who are interested in playing football would still be able to play.
“If a club folds, it’s very hard to get back,” McDermott said.
Club registrar Ben Trudgett said it looked like the Cobar club had no other option than to leave Group 11 at this time.
“It’s not ideal and no one wants it but at least there’s still football and still the Cobar Roosters Rugby League Club.”
First Grade player and Under 18s coach Matt Shepherd reluctantly agreed.
“At the end of the day, we’ve got to save the club,” Shepherd said.
Contrary to the Dubbo Daily Liberal’s article released on Friday April 8 which reported that “The Cobar Roosters have announced they will drop out of the competition”, the news that the Roosters would not be playing in Group 11 this season had not been publicly announced by the committee at that stage.
Davis said the committee had wanted to contact their sponsors and also inform the players of their decision before the decision had been made public. He said he was disappointed the information discussed at the confidential meeting had been “leaked” to the Daily Liberal shortly after Wednesday’s meeting.