At the age of 34 and after what seemed like a long 12 months completely removed from the game, Todd Barrow’s golf improved but he thought his time in rugby league was up.
Nursing a semi-broken body and without a club, the dream was gone.
Little did he know, though, a long-held ambition to coach his home-town team was just around the corner.
Barrow will mentor the Molong Bulls in the club’s first season back in the Woodbridge Cup in six years, and the former NSW Country gun hasn’t ruled out playing either.
Although his busted body might make that decision for him.
Still, Barrow says coaching the Bulls is an opportunity too good to pass up, and continues a rich family history with the club.
Todd’s father Dave coached Molong, while his younger brothers Jye and Kade have both led the rugby league club’s push to be reinstated in the 2019 Woodbridge Cup.
Todd’s mother Jenny was voted in as Molong president at the club’s annual general meeting in November as well.
“Coaching Molong is something I wanted to do and didn’t think I’d get the chance to,” Barrow said.
“My family has spoken about it for a few years but it never came about. Actually the two youngest boys, Jye and Kade, said they were sick of travelling and didn’t want to play in Group 10 this year.
“I thought that was it for me, but they got this going.”
Barrow last coached in 2017, guiding Panthers to the Group 10 preliminary final.
I don’t know. I’ll wait and see. I won’t say no but the body’s not the best.Molong Bulls coach Todd Barrow on whether or not he'll play throughout the 2019 Woodbridge Cup season.
He made the decision to retire in the 2018 pre-season handing over the reins of the Bathurst club to young-gun half Doug Hewitt.
The men in black, a side that boasted both Jye and Kade Barrow, then went on to win the Group 10 premiership last year.
The two youngest Barrow brothers bring that title-winning experience home with them to Molong for the Bulls’ tilt at 2019, and they’ll be joined by a host of the town’s returning guns.
Tory and Dan Madden are back in the fold, while Barrow said a throng of veterans, including Kaleb Weekes and Trent Bald, will help the club find its feet in the 10-team Woodbridge Cup this year.
“All those local blokes that have had to play outside of the town, it’s good to have those guys back in Molong,” Barrow said.
“I think we’ll have a handy team. There’s not a lot of expectation first year back though, and that’s probably a good thing. For us it’ll just be about getting a team on the field every week.”
Which, if the early indications are anything to go by, won’t be a problem.
Already Barrow’s first grade side has 20 players signed up, while the league tag girls are stacked and a youth league side is looking promising, with 13 interested players on the books in Molong’s return year.
Barrow expects player numbers to get an extra kick come February and March, too.
A ball-playing lock or five-eighth, Barrow said he hasn’t ruled out playing in 2019 either.
“I don’t know. I’ll wait and see. I won’t say no but the body’s not the best,” he added.
Molong will begin pre-season training at the end of January.
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