AN emphasis on having fun is the main focus for Mudgee Wombats colts coach Tim Burgess and manager Tom Flynn.
The Wombats return to the Blowes Clothing Cup competition in 2014 after a six-year absence with teams in first grade, second grade and colts.
First grade and second grade have been playing in the Australian National Field Days - now the GrainCorp Cup - northern conference for the last few seasons.
But the colts side has been non-existent since the Wombats dropped to the second tier competition for the 2008 season.
Mudgee’s under 17s was the closest thing to a colts side the club had but they played in the Central West Junior Rugby Union competition.
“A lot of the youngsters who played in the teams with me, there was no pathway after that,” Burgess said. “They had to play league up to the 18s or have a couple years off and join the senior ranks.”
Now those players have the opportunity to continue to “play with their mates” in the colts side.
“In keeping the players to play union, the colts is obviously a really good stepping stone to get them to a senior level and obviously keep the club building,” he said.
“It is a really good opportunity for the club and the youngsters in town.
“A lot of the 17s from last year are happy to step up, quite a few of the league boys are happy to come over. I’ve spoken to a few overseas players who are keen to come over on working holidays to play. Apprentices in the mines who will be happy to play for us.”
According to Flynn, the colts years were the best and most enjoyable ones in a player’s rugby career.
“Given the age of the blokes you are playing with, you are basically playing with your mates,” Flynn said.
“Tim and I will be trying to push that, we want them to enjoy the season with their mates, we will try make it a good social scene for them as well.
“Regardless of standards, we want blokes. If we wanted the best side we would go out and find the best side but all we want is a good group of mates who want to enjoy the season.”
In 2007, the last year Mudgee had a colts team, the Wombats finished ninth out of 11 teams, above Forbes and Dubbo Rhinos.
Mudgee had four wins, 11 losses, a draw and three bonus points from their 16 matches.