Race against time for Wallabys stalwart
By CRAIG ROSScraigr@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org ONE bloke who deserves to put his feet up for the Christmas break is Wallabys Rugby League Club president Glenn Butcher.
Butcher, with the help of a few members of the Wallabys faithful, was locked in a race against time until the final night before last Friday's criteria deadline for inclusion in the 2006 CQ Extended League competition.
'On the Thursday night before the deadline, (A grade prop) Dan Kerr and I drove half way to Monto to sign one bloke,' Butcher revealed yesterday.
'It was really tough at this time of year ? blokes aged 17 to 18 are off at schoolies or doing other things so it took a lot of work to sign them up. It took a bit of stress trying to get it because the club was on the line.'
It was worth the effort with Wallabys now boasting 27 under-19 players on their books, two more than was stipulated in their criteria objectives, with the prospect of more signings to come.
Butcher said a majority of the side had come from last year's under-manned under-19 outfit and the under-17 side which had played as a combined unit with Biloela.
'We're really confident of keeping the side together,' Butcher said. 'Only two of the players turn 19 next year so we should be able to build on this side.'
Butcher said it was in the club's best interests to have a full squad when the round of Extended League fixtures commences after two rounds of local competition next season.
He said it would be tragic if "the most successful club in Gladstone over the last five years'' was kicked out of Extended League competition because it could not field a complete under-19 starting side.
He said the efforts of Kerr, under19 coach Matthew Johnson and loyal clubman Conrad Ingra were integral to keeping the club afloat.
Butcher said the club expected to field strong A grade and reserve grade sides again next year with most players backing up.
He said all three grades would start training at the club's Tranberg Street field on October 10 at 6pm.