BEFORE last week, the CSU Mungoes were facing the possibility of scaling back to a single team for this year’s Centennial Coal Cup because of a lack of players.
Now it looks like the double act is set to continue.
The question now for the club is whether they can share strong results between the two sides or whether the talent will be stretched too thin to compensate.
CSU Yellow only lost four of their 14 games in the regular season last year before going down to undefeated Kandos Waratahs in the grand final 46-18. On the other side of the coin, CSU Blue couldn’t find any momentum, taking just the two wins from their season.
Mungoes president James Dunston is confident the university can deliver two strong squads this season.
“We were considering it [having one side], but at training we had good numbers turn up. I’m pretty optimistic about having two teams again now,” he said.
“We lost 28 people who either graduated or didn’t want to play with us any more. So I’m pretty pleased to have enough turn up to run two teams.
“Having lost so many players put a dampener on things. A lot of the returning players in just their second or third year are now the old boys at the club. From what I hear, there’s still more boys who are wanting to play.”
The standard has never been better, according to Dunston, who believes the club is now well entrenched and focused on the Centennial Coal Cup.
He says there’s plenty of talent in the squads capable of going further but they have chosen a more relaxed atmosphere for their time at university.
“There was a marginal difference between the two teams last year and that was mostly the result of the two different approaches the coaches took,” he said.
“We have managed to keep the core of our senior players, though. Having them around is handy and the committee are very experienced and know what is going on.
“We’ve got a number of players who are capable of playing first grade in Group 10. They said that they don’t want competitive football but still get to meet people and play some good football.
“It’s very handy, because a lot of them come here to study and don’t want to play or commit to a top level of country football. This is a good avenue for them.”
The club’s long-term aspirations are ambitious.
CSU are aiming to one day again field a side in Group 10. The club last had a side in Group 10, in reserve grade, in 2005, and came close to doing so again before rule changes in the 2012 season regarding team numbers.
“It’s now our third year in the Centennial Coal Cup. New rules in Group 10 that said we needed a team in all grades made that too hard for us to play there,” Dunston said.
“It [returning to Group 10] is obviously a long-term goal and it’s one that, sadly, the boys who are here currently will never get to see. It’s something to always think about, though.
“We definitely won’t be going back into the tertiary league because I think that would be a step back for the club after the work we’ve done.”