Frenchville Rugby’s rejuvenation

The Frenchville Rugby men's squad will be eager to prove 2021 was no fluke.

By Liam Emerton

After producing a great fairytale story in 2021 it’s clear that in the newest Rugby Capricornia season the hunters will become the hunted.

The Frenchville Pioneers shocked many when they were able to surpass the well-drilled Dawson Valley Drovers and capture the latest Rugby Capricornia trophy.

But this year the Pioneers won’t have the element of surprise with the squad certainly being well scouted by the remainder of the competition.

That grand final of course had positive effects but maybe none more than premiership winning coach Steve Anderson coming back for at least one more season.

Anderson was ready to end his coaching spell with Frenchville but the keenness of his players and the culture of the club pulled him in for another year at the helm.

“To tell you the truth I was probably at the end after the season,” said Anderson.

“I’ve been back there with them, strapping, running the water for 12 years now.

“But I wouldn’t say it was the grand final that tipped me over to come back again, it’s just the boys and how keen they are.

“The new guys who came in last year are all excited. They’re a good bunch of blokes.

“It’s not so much about winning the premiership, it’s just being around that group of guys.

“The older boys are coming back around for one more year so I think it’s only right that I go around one more time with them before we let the younger guys come through and let them have a go.

“I’m just excited to rip in again. I thought I would be over it but after last year with the older guys coming back and the younger guys joining in, it lit a fire under my belly as well.”

Anderson said the squad has accepted the extra pressure after winning the title last season and said that his team will be ready for the challenges that lie ahead in 2022.

“I suppose that always happens when you’re the premiers,” he said.

“As much as it was a surprise where we came from in fourth I think that, apart from one or two games last year, every other game we were in right to the end.

“With our five-eight and wingers they were new to rugby so every game they got better and better which showed in the grand final.

“The boys know that. With a bit of to-ing and fro-ing with Drovers the day after the grand final there might be a bit of animosity there when we play them for the first time round next year.”

CQ Today asked Anderson to look towards his 2022 roster and select a few players who could shine for the Pioneers this season in their attempt for back-to-back titles.

“If we can keep young fullback Jake Bahnam, he’s been in pre-season training by himself and he’s pretty keen to run around.

“He’s a really good young player. We have lost a couple, with a few going down to Canberra.

“Damon Moore, our five-eight from last year, he only played nine or ten games.

“He got better after each game so I’m excited to see how he goes with another season under his belt.”