Raiders ready to step up again

RUGBY UNION

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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The Raiders will return to the first division this season. IMAGE: Newsport.

PORT Douglas’ rugby union team, the Port Douglas Reef Raiders, are on a massive recruitment drive for the new season; they have a new coach; and after a season’s hiatus, they are back in the first division and will again host matches at the town’s sporting complex.

“This is good news and we are looking forward to the return of our fan base and reasonably confident we can attract new players this season.

“We have recruitment posters scattered across the town encouraging players to join the club,” said club president Don Murday.

A number of factors forced the Raiders to make the tough decision of withdrawing from FNQ Rugby’s Premier Grade and relegating themselves to the Reserves League for the 2017 season.

At the time, Murday describe it as “the most difficult decision” of his 17 years with the club, but there was little option but to make the dramatic call after a dismal, winless 2016 season when they struggled to field a consistent team, or hold regular practice sessions.

Traditionally, the Raiders have attracted players from Australia, United States, Mexico, France, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand.

“The other exciting news is the appointment of David Pearse as our new coach.

“He has played at a high level in the UK and will be concentrating on fitness and a good, basic game plan and we are looking forward to his input and contribution to the club,” said Murday. Round one of the season starts on April 14.

Murday stressed the importance of having the critical mass enabling regular training and a good turnout of players. He added that if there were enough players, they would enter a team in the second division.

He said with a major focus on increasing the existing player portfolio, players interested in being part of the Raiders experience and willing to relocate, the club is able to assist with employment and accommodation.


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