The future of the Dubbo Rhinos looks bright with the newly-formed under 17s side proving a force to be reckoned with while numbers continue to grow in the colts division.
Rhinos president Ian Burns spoke with pride after young black and golds held off a talented Narromine Gorillas side to win by two points during Saturday’s Central West Junior Rugby Union (CWJRU) under 17s match at Caltex Park.
It was just two seasons ago when the Dubbo Rhinos was represented by one side running around the Graincorp Cup competition.
Last season, back in the premier Blowes Clothing Cup, there was two senior sides and the growth has continued in 2017.
The under 17s side has impressed early on in the CWJRU season while the colts team received a forfeit from the Cowra Eagles on Saturday to push it up to sixth on the table.
“The 17s and colts are the future of our club,” Burns said.
“If we coach them well and look after them then they will come back each year and help grow the club.
“The 17s are going extremely well and being well cached by Craig Giffin and Darryl Thompson and they’re really hitting their straps.
“And the young colts fellas are adding numbers each week and now we’re seeing more of of a competitive side.”
The Rhinos made the recruitment of young players the major focus during the off-season, implementing an advertising and social media campaign in order to attract players to the club.
It worked, with numbers now growing and Burns stated the club is determined to “continual and upward” process.
Saturday’s win for the under 17s was a real highlight. With a number of representative players in the Gorillas outfit it was always going to be a difficult task but the Rhinos, led by Central West representative Ben Cook as well as the likes of Kain Simpson and Will Allen, were able to score a 17-15 victory.
“Narromine has good some really good players and some good rugby nous but we’ve got some real talent in our 17s side,” Burns said.
“They probably lacked a little discipline but they are extremely skilled and have some great rugby skills so they’ll go well.
“But it’s up to them how far they take it.”
Burns was also full of praise for the work of Giffin and Thompson, with the latter returning to get involved with club after being part of the Rhinos in the past.
“It’s great to have him (Thompson) back and Craig is a tremendous bloke too and they both have a great passion for rugby,” he said.