Following five consecutive grand final appearances, the last four at Endeavour Oval, which have netted three Blowes Clothing Cup premierships, Pete Bromley is well aware of how much pressure there’s going to be on Orange Emus in 2019.
But, after confirming he’ll take the club’s top grade reins from Paul Ringland and Jeremy Wallace next year, he’s welcoming that pressure and expectation and looking forward to seeing how his side handles it.
Bromley steps into the head coach role after mentoring the greens’ reserve graders to this year’s grand final, watching on as they were bested by Bathurst Bulldogs, eventually going down 20-17 in a thrilling decider.
Going one better in that grade never really crossed Bromley’s mind, with the chance to move up and continue the work of Ringland and Wallace too good a challenge to pass up.
“It’s all very exciting. Filling Pauly and Jez’s shoes is a big ask, but it’s one of those challenges you always want to take on, trying to continue the dynasty they’ve sort of built,” Bromley said.
“They’ve helped build a great culture around the club and that’s something I want to come together with the other coaches, the players, the board and supporters to continue, to try and make sure the club is successful in future years.
“It certainly won’t be about changing the way the wheel turns, it’s more about tweaking things for me and trying to continue the development and success.”
There’s no doubting Bromley’s coaching chops either, his long history as a mentor includes NSW Surburban Rugby Union top grade premierships with Knox Old Boys and he also won that competition’s inaugural coach of the year award back in 2005 as well.
Naturally, defending last year’s title is his goal, although he will have to deal with a couple of losses in that bid. Firebrand five-eighth Kyran Bubb will not return for the greens and premiership-winning flankers Jack Marchinton and Jayden Norris are expected to move away too.
“Hopefully we can get to that grand final and go again, I think we have to be looking at that as our goal,” he said.
“Those three are big losses, if they end moving away, but that’s just one of those inevitable things in country rugby. There’s always turnover and it gives other guys the chance to step up and fill the role. At a club as strong as ours, there’ll no doubt be guys who will do that.
“Fortunately I saw the guys in second grade last year so I know where everyone is and that sort of thing, but once we start pre-season everyone will have the chance to impress.”
Bromley did highlight three guys in particular though, who have a foot in the door in replacing the three title-winners after proving themselves in 2018.
“Slammin’ (Sam Greatbatch) is one, he was a fill-in man for ones and twos last year and always did the job. We seemed to be fighting over him for bench spots every week in the finals, I’d love to see him continue his rise,” Bromley said.
“Joel Urban is another, he made the switch from rugby league last year and went from the centres to the back-row, I’d like to see him continue developing and then, maybe, we’ll get some work out of the old legs of Simon Badgery, who I believe is keen to go around again.”
Bromley is expected to be assisted by 2015 title-winner Graydon Staniforth, with Ringland likely to move into a director of coaching role.
While Emus’ lower grade coaches aren’t yet 100 per cent confirmed, Simon Thompson looks likely to get the second grade gig while former Australian Schoolboy Shane Udy is expected to once again play a role with the club’s colts.
The greens are expected to begin their pre-season in late January.
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