THE Orange Barbarians’ record in the last five seasons of the New Era Cup, formerly the Centennial Coal Cup, doesn’t make for particularly pretty reading, but president Paul Rudd is confident of turning that around in 2016.
In the last half decade, the Barbarians boast a winning percentage of just 17, along with two wooden spoons from the same period.
But Rudd is confident his club will turn its on-field fortunes around in season 2016, thanks largely to the recent signing of new captain-coach Ben Gosper, a former CYMS’ Group 10 premier league skipper.
The defensive machine also won three top grade titles with the green and golds, including this year’s win, and Rudd is confident all his experience and tactical nous will provide Barbarians with the perfect foundation.
“We’re really hoping 2016 will be the year we make a jump (up the table),” Rudd said.
“We’ve been chasing Benny for a while, because we think he’ll fit in really well with the club and hopefully bring a bit more discipline and commitment from the players, particularly to training.
“That’s no disrespect to the other coaches we’ve had, but we’ve drawn shift workers a lot so they can’t always be there.
“Benny is a very self disciplined player, and very experienced, so we’re expecting him to lead from the front, particularly defensively.”
Rudd said Gosper’s time under CYMS’ player-coach Mick Sullivan puts him in good stead to start his coaching career, which kicks off unofficially tomorrow at the club’s first get together.
“We’re having a barbecue to give the older, established players a chance to meet up with Benny and the other new players we’ve signed,” Rudd said.
“It’s a good chance for the guys and their families to meet up, we’ll play a bit of touch, and they can speak to Benny about what he wants to achieve with Barbarians so everyone is on the same page.
“I know he’s not coming up here to lose. He’s had a lot of success with CYMS playing under Mick Sullivan, so I think he’ll want to transfer that kind of success to Barbarians.
“I think playing under Mick, who is proven to be a very good coach, will be good for Benny going into this role.”
The Barbarians have also signed Joel Fahy straight out of CYMS’ 2015 first division winning side, and Jake Kelly will coach the club’s league tag side.
Tomorrow’s barbecue kicks off around midday, at Max Stewart Oval, and Rudd made sure to say everyone involved with the club, in the rugby league or netball arms, is welcome.