THE recent success of the Greta Branxton Colts women’s nines side is cause for optimism throughout the Hunter Valley Group 21 club this season.
The John Hamson-mentored outfit made a stunning debut in the tackle competition over November-December, gallantly losing 24-14 to the Merriwa Magpies in the grand final at Muswellbrook’s Olympic Park.
And, new Greta Branxton president Nathan Smith hopes the girls’ terrific effort results in a flow-on effect, which will inspire all four grades – firsts, reserves, under-18s and league tag – to greater heights.
“Their achievement [last month] has lifted the Colts heading into 2019,” he said.
“John and Caitlin Albury did a great job.
“We’re very proud of them.
“It’s certainly a boost for the club – and we’ll use that momentum in the new year.
“In fact, I’m excited by the season ahead.
“I’ve got a good committee supporting me.
“Now, it’s our responsibility to ensure the seniors return to where they should be.”
Greta Branxton will also welcome a couple of familiar faces back to the fold, with Steve Nevin (firsts) and Doug Engel (reserves) taking on coaching roles along with Matt Frawley (U18).
The league tag position is yet to be appointed.
“It’s great to have them all on deck,” Smith said.
“Steve was involved with the Colts in 2007; and our captain-coach in the ‘seconds’ for a couple of seasons.
“In that time, he took the team to a semi-final berth.
“He’s a local guy, too, and knows the club well, being a former player.
“Steve boasts a wealth of knowledge.
“He’ll be a good mentor for the juniors coming through the ranks.
“I, personally, respect him a lot.
“We are passionate about rebuilding our club, developing our players and giving our youngsters an opportunity.
“And, Steve – being a local – is a crucial component to achieving that aim.
“We’re happy to have Matt on board as well.
“He’s a Maitland junior representative coach who wants to challenge himself on a weekly basis.
“He is also familiar with some of our kids from the 16s to 18s, which is a bonus.”
Following a few bleak years on the paddock, Smith admits the Colts’ goals in 2019 are pretty simple.
“We’ll definitely be competitive,” he said.
“But, we’re looking at top four, a play-off spot.
“Steve thinks we can accomplish it, even though we’ve lost a fair few players through retirement or work commitments.
“We’re hoping to sign some newcomers to complement the talented youngsters in the club.
“I’m expecting the under-18s to do well, too; I’m impressed with what we’ve got [player-wise] at the Colts.”
Training starts at Greta Central Oval after the Australia Day long weekend.
So, if you’re new to the area, or keen to join the Colts, contact Steve Nevin on 0457 547 478.