ORANGE CYMS have pulled off the recruitment coup of the 2014 Group 10 off-season, luring former Group 10 player of the year, NSW Country and NSW Residents star Dan Stuart from South Newcastle.
The standout player of the Group 10 competition in a Bathurst Panthers side that won the 2006 title, Stuart has spent time between Group 10 stints playing in Newcastle and France and is confident of bringing “experience” to the green and golds.
A dynamic runner of the ball, the 28-year-old has already made an impact on his new club, shining in CYMS’ stint at the West Wyalong knockout last weekend.
Set to line-up in green and gold for the second time at the Bathurst knockout on March 15, Stuart is looking forward to making a mark on the competition he dominated seven years ago now he’s part of the premiership’s dominant outfit.
“CYMS won it last year so it’d be good if they can do it all again. That’s the goal,” Stuart said.
“The Bathurst knockout will give us a good indication of what the other teams are looking like. We’ll see what happens.
“Experience is probably something I can help with the young guys in the team. I come to training to train as well. I’ll put in. I won’t be there to muck around. Hopefully that’ll be something the young guys in the team can take from me.”
After winning the Group 10 premiership with Panthers in 2006, Stuart signed to play with Newcastle club Kurri Kurri, where he represented NSW Country and the NSW Residents in 2008.
He then joined the Macquarie Scorpions in 2009 before making the trip overseas to compete professionally in France with Elite One Championship club Les Diables Rouges, also known as the Montpellier Red Devils.
Stuart returned after three years with the Les Diables to play with South Newcastle in 2013.
A fullback or hooker, Stuart says he’s spoken to captain-coach Mick Sullivan about where he fits into the CYMS’ side in 2014 and is confident of making an impact.
“I’m not concerned (about playing a particular position),” he added. “I’m happy to play where ever the coach wants me to.”
CYMS will be without Group 10 and Western Division representative Ali Beale in 2014, and Sullivan has already hinted Stuart may claim the vacant three-quarter role left by Beale this winter.
"Dan will more than cover for Ali," Sullivan said.
"He plays a bit of fullback and hooker but we've obviously got Sam (Hill) and Timmy Bassmann in those positions at the moment. That's who I'll go with, but there's plenty of competition for places this season."
Still residing and working in Newcastle, Stuart will commute with 2013 premiership winning prop Brent Colley.
The Group 10 season kicks off on April 5.