The long search for the Tumut Blues first grade coach for 2107 is finally complete with Blues president Tom Arrragon confirming 2008 premiership coach Jarrad Teka will return to the club next year.
Teka is also expected to bring a number of players with him, although they are yet to sign their contracts.
Arragon anticipates a new-look Blues team will take the field in 2017.
“The coaching decision has changed a couple of times, but we’ve finally made our decision, and Jarrad Teka fits the bill,” Arragon said.
“He’s very experienced and coached the Blues to a premiership back in 2008, and has a lot of coaching experience in Canberra and he’ll be bringing some players with him,.
“This will be a very new side, there will be plenty of new faces, some young guys coming through and we’ll hopefully find some spots for them, because we’ve lost a lot of players from this year’s squad.”
Arragon believes that with a new coach locked away, the club can really start to prepare for the upcoming season.
“We can get on with the business of putting a side together now, a competitive side for 2017, everyone has been waiting patiently and we’ll all work together, the Old Boys and Minor League as well, it’s one club as far as I’m concerned.”
It’s no secret that the Blues struggled up front in 2016, and it’s something that Arragon hopes will be addressed, as well as improving the club’s overall depth.
“We are chasing front rowers, because we need a good forward pack, it’s a key area,” he said.
“We’ve got fullbacks and halfbacks, but we’ve got to develop competition for spots, we need depth, simple as that. We want reserve graders and the kids coming through to be competing for positions, not just having jumpers handed out, but it’s easier said than done.”
The recent release of the 2017 draw saw Tumut miss out on a lucrative home game against the Gundagai Tigers, and Arragon said he tried to have it altered, but to no avail, with the clubs voting on the current format 6-5.
“I didn’t like the draw because we miss out on a home game against Gundagai, but we play the three top sides from last year once, Gundagai, Junee and South City, so the draw probably favours us there, but not in terms of gate takings.
“It’s a big loss losing the Gundagai home game. We protested the draw but it fell on deaf ears, and I still can’t understand why, the biggest gate has always been Tumut and Gundagai, but it’s done know,” he said.
With a new coach and new players on their way, the future is looking brighter for the Blues, but Arragon pleaded with fans to be patient, and to give the new side time to gel.
“I’ve got a good committee behind me and I’m only new to the role but I feel the fans out there have reason to be optimistic about 2017,” he said.
“But it’s a new-look side so people have to be patient, you can’t just throw 17 players together and have instant success.”