From one regional competition to another, the Burrangong Bears will this year play in the Blumers Lawyers George Tooke Shield competition.
Based just outside of Young, the Burrangong Bears previously played in the Woodbridge Cup competition, where they are one of the founding clubs. Having not fielding a team in the 2019 season, this was going to be their comeback year but the competition was called off for the season.
While the club was disappointed with the news, Burrangong Bears President James Sheehan says that coincidently they were already looking at the George Tooke Shield competition before the offer to join came.
“We were actually thinking of joining the George Tooke Shield, just because of the close proximity for the games. There’s a lot of local derby’s that are in the normal format of the George Tooke, with Boorowa, Binalong and Harden,” Sheehan said.
“The players were really keen to play and this was our only opportunity to play and we are really looking forward to giving the George Tooke a really good run. I’ve heard all the clubs are looking very competitive, so looking forward to it.”
The Bears will join the Bungendore Tigers, Gunning Roos and the Gordon Highlanders in the four team competition, which will take place over nine rounds.
CRRL General Manager Mark Vergano says Burrangong are an important addition to the competition.
“We are very happy that the Burrangong Bears have joined the George Tooke Shield competition for the 2020 season,” Vergano said.
“Young is a great regional rugby league area and it is a good opportunity for players from that area to play in our competition this year.”
The Bears will field two teams, a Men’s side and a Ladies League Tag side. A big challenge for the Bears has been recruiting players, but Sheehan says that a Canberra Raiders Cup club has emerged as an unlikely saviour.
“It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride. One training session we get 20 and then the next you get only 10 or 12. We’ve had a few different players come for a bit of a run and have decided that the travel is a bit too much,” Sheehan said.
“We’ve picked up a few from Cootamundra, Grenfell, Harden and some of them have pulled out unfortunately at the last minute, which is a bit rough. But we’ve got some other options on the table. West Belconnen is actually looking at helping out and putting in a few players, so we are looking at having a pretty decent go at it.”
Winning the premiership is the goal for any team, but for Burrangong they also hope to see players and their club grow.
“I think from a coaching perspective, the main goal is to just see where all of our new players that have come to the club this season are at, because we are rebuilding for next season,” Sheehan said.
“We’ve got a young coach for the League Tag team, Tori Hegyi, it will be her first go at it, and we’ve got a very good and experienced coach in Barry Edwards for the Men’s. I think as long as we can be competitive, have fun and keep the football dream alive I think that’s our three goals from Burrangong.”
The Burrangong Bears start their 2020 campaign this Saturday, with the Ladies League Tag side kicking off at 1:20pm.