Richmond Range back on the field
EXPECT Richmond Range to be competitive in its first Far North Coast rugby union season after a two-year absence.
Range, which will host games at Mallanganee, has suffered from a lack of interested players in recent years.
But in 2011 club spirit is high.
“We have 10 to 12 players who can’t make training because of night shifts but we’re still getting about 12 guys showing up to most sessions,” club president Lofty Carroll said.
“The last season we played we had some guys who didn’t pay registration fees but this year everyone has paid and the mood is very positive.”
It does not look like Range will be fielding a social pub team this winter.
“My nephew Mark New played in Far North Queensland teams against Quade Cooper,” Carroll said.
“We also have Tim and Nathan Anderson, who have played school rep footy, and Dave Briggs is a past winner of the Sawtell Gift.
“I reckon we’ll make the top four and play in the finals – there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be there.”
Range has a proud history in lower grade football – they won a title in 1980 and in 1991 and 1998 made grand finals in third grade.
And 42-year-old Carroll has been a big part of the club over the years.
He will play this winter and help bring through Range’s young talent.
“We’re all about developing young players and hopefully we can get a few of them to go on and play first grade at the Casino Bulls,” he said.
“We have a core group of 18- to 23-year-olds and then me and Mick Keep, who are both 42.”
Richmond Range secretary Kerry Roche praised Carroll for his efforts in getting the blue-and-white club back off the ground.
“Lofty’s been amazing,” she said.
“He moved back here from Nambour to follow his dream of getting this team back on track.”
Range’s first match back will be this Saturday against Wollongbar-Alstonville at 5pm at Lyle Park.