Wellington Cowboys captain-coach Aidan Ryan has revealed he told around 10 players not to return to the club because of poor attitude.
Ryan said he made the call after Wellington’s tough round against Dubbo CYMS last week, where a number of first grade players were required to drop back to cover for missing reserve graders.
Reserve Grade took an important win against CYMS but those players backing up for first grade were part of a 104-6 hammering by the competition benchmark.
That loss, along with the Cowboys’ 44-14 defeat by Macquarie on Saturday has ensured they will miss the finals.
Ryan accused some players of ditching the top grade side in favour of reserves, because they will play finals football.
“I asked a few of the boys to back up today and they won't do it for us,” Ryan said.
“I'm pretty disappointed in them. As the captain of first grade I should have the choice of who plays where but they just decide where they want to play.
“As a club if we can't move forward as one, I don't think I'm going to be able to do my job and get these guys into the semi-finals.”
There were plenty of young talented players who have the best interest of the club, Ryan said, and those who didn’t want to help would have to look elsewhere to play football.
“I've told a few players to not come back after last week,” he said.
“I've told them they aren't welcome at the club and that's what we have to do. We have to weed out all the rubbish. I think we got rid of 10 or 11 players last week and we told them they're not welcome back.
“We have players who are first grade quality players but they just want to take the easy way out and play reserve grade because reserve grade's going to win the semis.
“It's pretty disappointing on their behalf but I won't look for them next year so it doesn't really bother me.”
The coach said he had the backing of the playing group and the support of major sponsor, the Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Service (WACHS).
“I was talking to the WACHS CEO and some of the committee members and they are behind me 110 per cent. They want to see the club go forward,” he said.
Despite the drama engulfing the club, Ryan said he was confident the club could change its culture and be competitive.
“I'm the first grade coach and the priority is to win the first grade comp so when we reach a point that I can pick the team I want for first grade, that's when we will move forward.
“We've got some of the juniors we won the comp and a good core of first graders so with a good pre-season, plus a couple who are injured, we will be very competitive.
“It will definitely be a bigger and better 2018. Don't give up on us.”