When the Narrabri Rugby League Football Club’s teams run out for their round one matches at Collins Park on Sunday, they will be kicking off more than their Group 4 Rugby League seasons.
The club is celebrating its centenary year in 2021 and president Peter Doring, his dedicated committee and first grade head coach Jake Rumsby are driving the club to ‘salute the past, celebrate the present and inspire the future’ – to honour everyone who has been a part of the club or supported it since 1921.
Celebrating the present is what Rumsby, who will captain-coach the side this season, is most concerned about.
In 2011 at age 18, Rumsby made his Blues debut. He played a few games that season then a full year in 2012 before departing Narrabri to play for the Canberra Raiders’ under-20s team in 2013.
Rumsby returned home in 2014 and has played for the Blues every year until he decided to have a year off in 2019.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the cancellation of the 2020 campaign, then put Rumsby’s return on hold.
But now he is back and he is determined to help guide the club to its first top-grade premiership since 1990.
He told The Courier that everyone at Narrabri Rugby League Football Club was keen for the season to finally get underway.
“Everyone is excited that footy’s back,” Rumsby said.
“It’s a massive year on and off the field for the club.
“A lot of people have done a lot of work behind the scenes and now us players need to perform on the park to thank the committee and also the fans.
“The crowd support we got for the trial game day against Moree a few weekends ago was very good for us, we didn’t expect that much.
“Hopefully we get even more this Sunday.
“We’ve got a great vibe at the club this year.
“We’ve got a great working committee and all the players are keen to start playing footy.
“It’s exciting to see how well we trained in the pre-season, it was one of the hardest pre-seasons we’ve done out here for a long time but the guys stuck it out.
“Fitness definitely won’t be an issue for us, we just need to do all the little things right now.
“Hopefully we can get a win on the weekend, that’d be very nice.”
The Blues will take on Group 4 Rugby League newcomers Moree Boars on Sunday in first grade, reserve grade and ladies’ league tag.
Narrabri met Moree in a senior club trial on Sunday, April 11, in which they looked impressive when they had their strongest 13 on the park.
This weekend’s first grade team will be almost identical to the one which ran out for the first quarter of the trial game, with a few significantly handy additions.
To come back into the lineup on Sunday are Rumsby himself, gun hooker Jacob Nichols and Daniel Howe who missed most of the trial game after suffering a head cut.
Rumsby said that the Blues were looking strong in 2021 and added that the side’s goal was to be the team celebrating on grand final day.
The club’s reserve grade team will be coached by Lachlann Thorn in 2021 while Ashley Hynch is at the helm of the ladies’ league tag team and Doring is coaching the under-18s side.
An under-18s trial game against Baradine will kick off proceedings at Collins Park on Sunday at 11am. The ladies’ tag team will begin at 12pm with the reserve grade game to follow at 1.10pm and the first grade match set to kick off at 2.50pm.
The Blues’ 2021 Group 4 Rugby League draw is as follows:
Round 1 – May 2 v Moree Boars (H); round 2 – May 9 v Werris Creek Magpies (A); round 3 – May 16 v Boggabri Kangaroos (H); round 4 – May 23 v Kootingal Roosters (A); round 5 – May 30 v Gunnedah Bulldogs (H); round 6 – June 5 v Dungowan Cowboys (H); round 7 – June 20 v North Tamworth Bears (A). Ladies and reserves v Manilla (A); round 8 – June 27 v Moree Boars (A); round 9 – July 3 v Werris Creek Magpies (H); round 10 – July 17 v Boggabri Kangaroos (A); round 11 – July 25 v Kootingal Roosters (H); round 12 – July 31 v Gunnedah Bulldogs (A). Ladies and reserves v Barraba (A) on August 1; round 13 – August 7 v Dungowan Cowboys (A); round 14 – August 15 v North Tamworth Bears (H). Ladies and reserves v Barraba (H); semi-finals – August 28 and 29, preliminary final – September 4, grand final – September 12.To order photos from this page click here