June Newsletter

Presidents Report

After a disruptive couple of years to our seasons and a tough start to 2022, we are pleased that we are well and truly into our 50th year anniversary season.

I would like to personally acknowledge and thank our many volunteers across the club. They have done a fantastic job with managing the difficult conditions and doing whatever they could in making sure all the kids and grade teams were able to train and play as much as possible.

I would also like to acknowledge our many supporters who continue to attend our games. Our inaugural emergency services day on the 4th of June was a great success with $980.00 raised for the SES. Thanks to CKJ Irrigation for sponsoring the trys and conversions for the day.

Hopefully, it will stay dry and we can all enjoy the rest of the season with plenty of home games left I look forward to seeing everyone down at the club enjoying watching our juniors and seniors.

Once again a huge thank you to our amazing sponsors who without their support none of this would be possible.

Our club has always had fantastic support from businesses all over the Southern Highlands so if you get the opportunity to support one of them please let them know how we appreciate their support in keeping rugby strong in the Highlands.

I am also very pleased to announce that Felix Talbot and Josh De Kok were selected for the NSW country squad and will be working hard to make the team’s tour to Queensland later in the year.

We are also looking forward to our Agricultural Day on July 2nd and our Ladies Day on 16th July

Juniors Report

Well, what a great start to the year with registrations stronger than ever in the junior ranks.

This year we are fielding teams from U7s through to U12s. We also have started our Tiny Tots program, of which we already have 25 participants. Traditionally we struggle with registrations in the age groups U13s to U17s. We are addressing this gap by opening up a Boys 7’s side in both U13 – U15s and U16s – U17s. We are excited to let you know we have 20 participants, and we are working up a competition with IDJRU to accommodate this age group and format.

The girls are super strong fielding two teams in the U15 and U17 age groups. They are participating in the IDJRU girls’ rugby competition. We were also very pleased to host a girls rugby gala day recently where many games were played and many clubs represented. This was made even more special as we were finally able to host the girls’ rugby gala day in line with the rest of our junior’s home game. Having all our juniors on the same ground playing for the first time was a great achievement and an accomplishment we should all be proud of.

The last few weeks have seen tremendous rugby played across our age groups, some wins and some losses but awesome lessons, enjoyment and sportsmanship seen by all.

Referees are traditionally a very hard commodity to find! Earlier this year we were able to secure a referee course in our great clubhouse. Attended by 15 willing participants, some who really want to explore the potential that comes from officiating our great game, and some who just wanted to know the rules better!

This has left us with a healthy 6 active junior referees. They have applied themselves and are continuing to learn both on and off the field to improve their skill set and performances. They are showing wonderful potential and we look forward to being able to actively supply great quality referees in the years to come.

If you are interested in becoming a referee please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss how to do so!

This weekend we see our age groups play different clubs in many different locations. Our super talented U11 side is the only team at home this weekend so if you would like to get down and cheer on the mighty Blackies then please come down, and kick off 10 am Sunday.

In summary, the juniors section of the club is strong, growing and successful and looking forward to continuing this momentum for the rest of this season and a great platform to launch into next year.

Grade Coaches Update

Eight games into a reduced season and 1st grade are sitting 9th on the competition ladder. Although not ideal we are only a few wins off the pace and are looking to climb to the top half of the comp over the next few weeks.

2nd Grade is 5th and looking like real finals contenders. There is not much room for error as only the top 4 go into the finals.

Inconsistent performances have been our achilles heel this season, but with no pre-season and limited training time, we are starting to show our true colours. The group has shown real character competing each week against the comp’s heavyweights. And the young (and not so young) playing group are showing signs of what’s to come.

Numbers across the board have not been great and attendance at training inconsistent. But the group of committed players who have put their hand up should be congratulated for their efforts under very trying conditions.

Several senior players had retired at the start of the season so we knew there would be a changing of the guard. To their credit the holes have been filled by a mixture of young local talent, some old heads turning back the clock and some players new to the Blackies.

With only 2 grades the group has trained as a squad and the culture is as strong as ever. Some players to note are young guns Jackson Philp, Campbel De Montemas and Jarrod Cook who have enjoyed solid performances in 1st grade. The experience of the likes of Ben Martin, James Knight and Michael Spargo has been invaluable. Players to watch as the pointy end of the season are Corey Martin and Mitch Wellmen in 1st Grade and Hamish Pinn and Eamon Kearney in 2nds.

The club was well represented at the recent Country Championships held in Tamworth over the June long weekend. Clancy Donnan played in the Illawarra senior team which our president Mark Fruend was the manager. In the Illawarra Colts, we had Tom Star, Charlie Stevens, Felix Talbot and Josh De Kok. I coached the colts Team assisted by ex Blackies player Nick Coombes (now junior coaching coordinator).

I would like to thank James King, Tim Small and Darren Clunn who continue to support and provide a professionally run coaching program.

It’s not too late to come down and register as a player or just help out in some way, or just come to Eridge Park on a home game for a beer.