Welcome to The Rogues Rant, an occasional look at all things
Covid 19 is still making a significant impact on all our lives going
into 2021 and will continue to play a role in how the IDRU comp is conducted as
well. It’s looking as though last year’s restrictions will be relaxed somewhat
but clubs will still have to adhere to some protocols on game day. You will probably
have to scan you way into all grounds just like at most other venues around
town. Clubs should be able to operate Canteens, Bars and have their change
rooms available again but still with some restrictions. The full details should
be out within two weeks in time for everyone to prepare for the first round of
matches on March 20th.
Speaking of Round 1, the draw is out for First and Second Grade with a
couple of special arrangements for Rounds 1 & 2. In Round 1 University and
Tech Waratahs will kick the season off on Friday 19th under lights at
University Oval. Match times are still to be confirmed but will probably be
something like 6.00PM for Seconds and 7.30 for the top grade. In the Second
Round the Shoalhaven V Kiama match will not be played until 17th July, one of
the spare rounds, as a special event at Shoalhaven Rugby Park. The Third Grade
Draw is still to be finalized and is of real concern for Illawarra Rugby. It’s
not that long ago that we had 13 teams competing in 3rd Grade. Vincentia,
Wollondilly and the Southern Crushers have all withdrawn from Illawarra Rugby
and in a disturbing development Shoalhaven, Kiama and Avondale have all advised
that they will not be fielding a side in Third Grade in 2021. Several other
traditional clubs are struggling for numbers which could see a very small
number of sides nominating which puts the competition in question. The 8th
March which is the date of the next Rugby Committee meeting has been set as the
deadline for clubs to confirm their involvement in Third Grade.
The Waratahs had a good trial win over the Reds in Narrabri last Friday
as we get closer to the start of Super Rugby on February 19. With many pundits
having a question mark over the very inexperienced Waratahs Squad, the 45 to 33
Blues win should give the squad a boost ahead of their Round 1 match against
the Reds at Suncorp Stadium on Friday week. The Reds lost their skipper Liam
Wright to an ankle injury on Friday which will keep him out for up 10 weeks.
Not the ideal start for the Reds. The Brumbies, Reds, Force and Rebels have all
made improvements to their squads and I think we are in for a very interesting
tournament. After losing so much skill and experience from their squad I think
the Waratahs are in for a long season.
The new CEO of Rugby Australia is on the Job. The very experienced Andy
Marinos joins RA after 6 years as CEO of SANZAAR based in Sydney. He brings
with him strong relationships with all involved in our sport both locally and
internationally. Prior to his role at SANZAAR he spent time as CEO of Newport
Gwent Dragons in Wales and was a Board member of Welsh Rugby. He has also been
acting MD and a Board member of South Africa Rugby, also serving as GM Commercial
Marketing of SAR and as Manager of the Springboks. He has plenty to offer, let’s
hope he can stay on top of the political shenanigans he is sure to experience.
Very little change as far as Coaching is concerned around the local
clubs for 2021. Joe Aiono is in charge again at Avondale after their strong
season in 2020. Dave Gleeson is back at Camden and Sene Aelua returns also with
the big improvers of last year Campbelltown. James Patrick at Kiama, Paul
Ridgeway at Shamrocks, Paul Connor at Shoalhaven, Tim Olsen at Tech Waratahs
and Phill Green at Vikings are all back in charge. Shaun McCreedy returns as
Club Coach at Uni with Dion Miller in charge of First Grade. Steve Talbot is
the Club Coach at Bowral heading up a very strong Coaching Staff. Greg Mumm and
Gene Fairbanks are back together as the First Grade coaching team with former
Brumby and Wallaby Stirling Mortlock joining the group in a Specialist Coaching
role. Here’s hoping that we can get back to a full competition this year for
everyone to enjoy.
Some dates to put into your diary for season
Kiama – 20th February – Shute Shield Premiers,
Gordon Training Camp at Kiama Showground. Open to all from 10.00AM. The day will
include a Junior Training session with the Premiers.
Camden 10’s- 20th February.
Kiama 7’s–27th February.
IDRU Season Launch Luncheon – 12th March.
IDRU Round 1 – 19th / 20th March.
NSW Country Week – 12th-14th June.
IDRU Grand Final – 4th September.
opinions offered in this column are the opinion of the author. They should not
be considered to represent the views of the IDRU.