League season can't come too soon
By GREGOR MACTAGGARTmactaggartg@gladstoneobserver.com.au
SEASON 2005 cannot come quick enough for the Valleys Rugby League Club who have been busy during the offseason.
Coach Aaron Earnshaw is looking for his boys to finish in the Extended League finals and has recruited strongly to help with that goal.
Two members of the club's 2000 local league premiership Mick Richards and Mark Tocco have returned to the fold, while Earnshaw has recruited Travis Ribot (Oakey), Craig Spence (Springsure), Brian Pengelly, Steven Parks and rugby union convert Aron Rush.
Of the new recruits, 23-yearold lock Travis Ribot and 22year-old Craig Spence look to be the most exciting, with new coach Earnshaw rapt to have them at Valleys.
"We have recruited well so far, Travis and Spencey (Craig) have impressed me and should be very good players for us,'' Earnshaw said.
Earnshaw is also excited at the prospect of the experienced campaigners such as Richards to help the Diehards young guns like Rick Gibson, Dougie Cowper, Ian Oakhill, Shannon Chynoweth, Chris Jamieson and Robbie Williams.
"The aim has been basically to get some experienced blokes into the club, we have some very good young talent and to get the Mick Richards type of player back will be fantastic for the young guys.
"We now have the blokes who know what it takes to win games of football and that is definitely going to be an invaluable asset to everyone associated with our club,'' he said.
Even so, Earnshaw is aware of the improvement the team is going to have to make if they are to consistently reach the level of the top two local clubs Wallabys and Brothers.
"Both Wallabys and Brothers are very good teams and they are a benchmark to work towards, our goal next season is to match it with them on a consistent basis,'' he said.
Valleys are also excited after signing a new sponsorship deal with the Young Australian Hotel, becoming the Diehards new home social venue.
The deal renews the partnership between the Diehards and the hotel which has sponsored Valleys in the past.
Diehards chairman John Sharpe and Young Australian manager Gary Frazer signed the new deal, with Earnshaw pleased with the arrangement.
"Its like the club is coming home, we are very pleased to get back and the three Gladstone teams will ensure there is good competition on and off the field,'' he said.