Welcome to The Rogues Rant, an occasional look at all things Rugby.
It’s AGM time of the year, with two big ones on this weekend. The NSW Country Rugby Annual Meeting is on his Sunday in Sydney with the IDRU AGM set down for the Master Builders Club on Monday night. It looks as though the same crew will be going around on the Illawarra Board for 2019 under the leadership of ten term Chairman Peter Woods. There’s an interesting change coming at Country level with the Country Championships moving back to the June Long Weekend. Country Rugby has secured a major sponsor for the Caldwell Cup tournament which will see the tournament played in Tamworth for the next three years. The Cockatoos program for 2019 is likely to be late in the year around the time of the NRC Tournament after Zone Competitions are complete. A good move!
On the local front next season’s draw will look very similar to 2018 with all 13 clubs looking to field teams in the same grades for 2019. Premiers Bowral will have Coach of the Year Gene Fairbanks back on deck while runners up Avondale will have Murray MacDonald back in charge for his third year. Camden has announced Doug Ryan as their new Head Coach for next year with Dave Gleeson and Gavin Holder assisting. Ryan has recently returned from Canada with extensive coaching experience in Edmonton both at club and representative level. Ryan who is undergoing ARU Level Three accreditation also comes with local coaching experience at Southern Districts and Randwick. James Patrick has moved on from the Rams and will take over from Brett Kelly at Kiama for 2019. Sean Barrett has passed the First Grades reins over to Stuart Roodenrys at Vikings, but Barrett will remain at the club in a Club Coaching role. Dion Miller will guide the First Grade at Wollongong Uni under the support once again of Club Coach Shaun McCreedy.
There is plenty of interest around about the new ARU Rugby Xplorer system being run out by Rugby AU. Replacing the somewhat underperforming Rugby Link administration system, Xplorer will be up and running for 2019 and is promising to make life easier for Club and Zone Competition Administrators. The old Rugby Link system has never managed to deliver what it promised so the much touted all improved new system will be most welcomed by all.