MOREE Boars’ move to Group 19 might not be an immediate success for the club when it treks to Glen Innes today but the signs are good for a long-range improvement in the club’s fortunes.
After a number of years in Group 4, Moree transferred to Group 19 in the off-season.
It also appointed former Country representative Wayne Hetherington, and the veteran – better known by his nickname Cowboy – will lead the club back into Group 19 battle today.
Moree Boars president Todd Mitchell, a stalwart through the good and bad years, is hoping the recent innovative Moree 9s competition might help inject plenty of interest into the game and club in Moree.
“The 9s was unbelievable for us,” Mitchell said.
“We had 130 players registered. We played over four Friday nights here and had some great crowds.”
“It was like minor semi-final crowds stuff and was well received by everyone out here.”
The Services Club Dragons won the initial 9s after beating the Victoria Hotel in the grand final.
Pallamallawa Raiders had been unbeaten until the major semi while Amaroo Tavern was also strong.
All four sides had Boars and Moree Boomerangs mixed in and gave organisers a great base to run further 9s competitions.
The prospect of Wee Waa, Narrabri and other sides joining in is a distinct possibility while there are also plans for a junior 9s.
“It was great for us,” Mitchell said.
“Just about every game was close and might have given us a few new players as well.”
Unfortunately for the Boars the weather might intrude on their first game back in Group 19 today.
“We’re going to be missing a few players because of work,” Mitchell said.
“The cotton has started back and some of the boys are working on the roads and in some of the new sub-divisions.
“We might struggle a little with reserve grade but I think we might get two sides, although it might be tight.”
The Boars have a few new faces such as Joe Henderson, who has returned from the rugby ranks.
Connor Ryan, son of former Canterbury and Northern Division star Matt Ryan, is also playing while Warialda’s Ben Kennedy and Adam Rodolossi have also come across.
“Matt Marshall is also back with us but he did a knee in a trial and will be out for another four weeks or so,” Mitchell said.