By Geoff Newling

Boggabri and District Rugby League Football Club president Greg Haire said he was delighted that Group Four Rugby League has set a tentative restart date.

Ever mindful of the pandemic, he’s certain his club and Group Four won’t return to playing and training unless they have the all clear from the relevant health authorities and NSW Rugby League.

“It would be fantastic if it happens,” Haire said.

“It would be good for everyone, not just our club and Group Four but the whole community.”

Haire said his club was in good shape too.

“We just shut up shop (when the pandemic restrictions hit),” he said.

“Had no expenses going out.”

The club has returned sponsorship money from one sponsor while other sponsors have left it in with the thought there may be a season of some kind,

“If we play this year we’ll be over the moon,” Greg Haire added.

“At this stage we don’t have many players registered but we know they are waiting too. We also have a couple of first grade FAOs waiting to finish their courses.

Our new reserve grade coach, Craig Summers, is doing an FAO. He coached Narrabri rugby a few years ago and has moved to Boggabri. He’s doing a wonderful job for the club.”

The club’s first grade coach Shane Rampling was confident the Roos would have a stronger squad this season before the pandemic hit.

“Before all this happened we were looking pretty good,” Rampling said.

“I’ve kept in touch with the playing group since too and sent them all out training schedules to do their own thing.

“The hardest thing will be trying to keep the reserve graders. That’s going to be the biggest issue for us.”

Before the pandemic hit the Roos coach had a number of new and old faces ready to go.

“We’ve got a prop from Bathurst (Bevan Flanagan), good mates with Nic Millar, who has moved up here.

“He had a trial with us against Coona.

“Kialu Brown is also back and had a few training sessions with us before it all stopped.

“We also picked up a couple of guys from Scone/Aberdeen who are working out here. It’s the strongest position we’ve been in for years with regard to quality and numbers.”

The Roos have lost Andrew Cameron (retired) Hawken Durrant and Isaac Harris (both gone to Gunnedah) but have the nucleus of last year’s side with the likes of Jayde and Mitch Campbell, Bailey Lennox, Matt Avendano, Dylan O’Brien, Jack and Matt Gillham, Ben Haire, Jay Urquhart and Nic Millar returning.

Add in Josh Trindall and the return of Aaron Hobden after a 12 month injury lay off and the Roos have the makings of a strong first grade squad.

“Everyone is doing their own thing, keeping fit,” Shane Rampling said.

“If we do get the go ahead to start again I think we will go pretty good.

“And I like the idea of a single round comp with the top eight playing off. All the clubs will be starting on a level playing field. You never know what could happen.”

He also thinks the July 25/26 start date is more than just a “goalpost” for clubs and players to aim at but affords Group Four the chance of playing trial games, maybe local derbies on a home and away basis in the couple of weeks leading into the season restart.

“Local derbies like Moree and Narrabri, Boggabri and Gunnedah, Werris Creek and Dungowan, Norths and Kootingal playing on a home and away basis (in all grades).

“That might be good for everyone.”

Group Four president Ray McCoy agreed and thought it was a wonderful idea to kick off the truncated 2020 competition.

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