Young gun takes over coaching role
NEW captain-coach Ryan Smith is upbeat about the future of the Warwick Water Rats despite its withdrawal this week from the Darling Downs A-grade competition.
“We have 38 contracted players and currently have 14 players injured,” Smith said.
“I am confident we have enough players for B-grade.”
On Tuesday night, Smith was appointed captain-coach of the B-grade side after the resignation earlier in the week of club coach John O’Leary.
“We have some young blokes in the club more up to date with the latest coaching techniques,” O’Leary said.
“It is time for fresh, young blood and I have some other commitments to focus on this year.
“My decision may seem untimely from the outside but it is the right time for a change considering the number of injuries and decision on grades.”
After first playing rugby union for Warwick at under-19 level, Smith graduated to the seniors and for two years assisted current club president Justin Wynn in coaching the under-15 side. Wynn and Smith now coach the Warwick under-17 side.
Smith is one of 14 players out with injury, 12 from the A-grade side which started the season with a game at Dalby last month.
“Nine A-grade forwards have suffered injuries and 12 altogether in A-grade,” Smith said.
The new captain-coach expects to be back for the home game against Rangers in B-grade on May 31.
“Seven players will be back for the Rangers game, only three have season-ending injuries,” he said.
Smith heads a youthful coaching panel of four.
After playing B-grade last season, the Water Rats made the bold decision to field A and B-grade teams this season.
The Water Rats were only scheduled to play A-grade on Saturday, have a bye on May 17 and then were scheduled to play St George in A-grade on May 24.
With a three-week break to the next B-grade game, Smith is hoping for a large attendance at training each Tuesday and Thursday nights at Risdon Oval at 6pm.
“We will concentrate on B-grade this season and organise a social event with each home game to raise money for charity,” he said.
He said the major problem with his club’s depth was the lack of a junior club through the years.
“The Cowboys have players coming through from Collegians and Suburbs. We now have juniors, including an under-17 side, and hope to get the right structure in place to field an under-19 side in a couple of years,” Smith said.
“We want to return to A-grade one day.”
Prospective players can call 0401 477 224 (forwards) or 0438 712 019 (backs).
The club also welcomes interest from supporters keen to organise social events at home games.