GUNNEDAH Bulldogs are preparing for a much different 2014 Group 4 season.
While club president Ray McCoy was returned to lead another season at last Sunday’s annual general meeting, the Bulldogs will have a new first grade coach – Shane Rampling.
Wayne Griffith will move up from the Under 18s to handle second grade (likely to play in the revamped First Division against other first division second grade sides and Group 4 second division sides) .
David McCann and Trent Hilton will handle the Under 18s.
McCoy said Rampling had already been talking to a number of the young players in the club and was hoping to harness their ability in what could be a far different season, with a Premier League and First Division almost certain to be rubber-stamped at next month’s Group 4 AGM.
“Our Under 18 sides have won eight of the last 10 Under 18 premierships,” McCoy said.
“But we haven’t been able to convert that into success in the senior grades.
“We’re hoping Shane and Wayne (Griffiths) can handle the turnover from 18s to the seniors.”
At Sunday’s meeting, the Bulldogs also conferred life membership on Roger Buttenshaw and David “Dooga” McCann.
“They both deserve it,” McCoy said.
“They’ve had long and outstanding service with our club.
“Roger captain-coached the 1973 Clayton Cup team.
“He came up here for work as a stock and station agent and coached out at Boggabri in 1965-66 before coming into town.
“His first year he suffered a badly broken leg.
“Dooga started playing for Gunnedah in the Under 5s.
“He came through the junior league into senior football and then went to Canterbury.
“The good thing is he came back home and started back coaching the kids in the Junior Rugby League for about eight years.
“The last few years he’s been back in the senior grades.
“He took the Under 15s from not winning a game last year to this year’s Group 4 Under 16 grand finals.”