Simon Osborne will be 39 come the start of the next Woodbridge Cup season and although he jokes he’s entering Bubba Kennedy territory by playing on there’s no way he was walking away from the Manildra Rhinos in 2019.
The former NSW Residents prop will again captain-coach the red and white, postponing retirement to lead the young Rhinos for a second season.
The club enjoyed a dynamite 2018, storming from fifth place on the ladder to qualify for this year’s grand final, which was played at Manildra’s Jack Huxley Oval.
It was the club’s first appearance in a home grand final since 1999, and that was special in itself.
But Osborne believes with the same squad and the addition of the Woodbridge Cup’s leading point-scorer in reigning Mitch Hutchings heading into the new year the club can go one step further and win next year’s premiership.
“We’ll try and win it this year,” he said, Manildra going down 26-22 to Trundle in the 2018 grand final.
“We’ll have the same side so there’s no reason we can't go further.”
Osborne said he was prepared to again lead from the front, the warhorse prop forward arguably getting better with age.
“The body is feeling pretty good,” he added.
We’ll have the same side so there's no reason we can't go further.Returning Manildra captain-coach Simon Osborne.
“I’ve been traveling down to Bathurst and Dan George has been helping me out. His boot camps have been a great help.”
Osborne said he was excited about the return of Molong to the Woodbridge Cup, making the 2019 competition a 10-team race.
The Bulls resurgence coincides with the presence of a strong Rhinos outfit, which will make the first Molong-Manildra derby an enthralling one.
But Osborne said, more than anything, he was just happy Hutchings would be lining up alongside the Rhinos rather than against them in 2019.
“He’s a machine,” Osborne said.
“We played against him at Eugowra and they beat us 24-22 and he scored all 24 points. He scores tries and kicks goals for fun.”
Manildra will kick-off pre-season training in the third week of January.
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