The Inverell Highlanders are already planning for the Central North Rugby season ahead with a fresh coaching line-up, plans to boost club participation and pre-season activities to gauge interest in new blood.
“The club has been building to some good results but now is the time for us to really get ourselves in a place to challenge for the premiership,” new first grade coach Tom Davidson said. “We have a great group of players and are really excited about getting the best out of them next year.”
The bearded 23-year-old and NSW Rugby Union Development Officer is backed up by Highlander campaigner Ross Fuller as assistant first grade coach, and the return of reserve grade coach Fraser Palmer, 24.
To add to the youthful face for the coming season, the club elected first grade player Josh Phillips as their new president. The 26-year-old is eager to ignite more of the family atmosphere for which the club has been historically known. His intent is shared across the staff, including a passionate Davidson.
“We’re looking to bring it back to a real family-based culture, appealing across the generations again, so creating an environment where we’ve got a strong link back to our junior club as well as making it more welcoming for the families on game days,” he said.
The Highlanders hope to establish women’s sides at the park in 2017, with an under 18s and open teams wearing the green and gold. They will usher in the pre-season in 2017 with February Friday Night 7’s competition that include the women’s sides. Davidson said after the furor generated from the Australian Pearls’ victory in Rio, women’s 7 a side continues to be the fastest growing sport in the country. Fuller said any girls or women interested are urged to bring some friends and come along to the February Fridays.
The team is offering a one-off, off-season skills activity this Sunday, with a free clinic with strength and conditioning coach Brady Walker. Walker has state-level experience coaching U15 and U17 NSW sides. Girls, boys, men and women are invited to meet at Rugby Park at 8.30am. The clinic will run until 10am. For more information, phone Tom Davidson on 0499 757 917.