Brad Soper will pull on a CYMS guernsey for the first time in eight years tomorrow after being named as lock for the Fishies against Cobar Roosters in round 7 of Tooheys New Group 11 rugby league.
Having recently purchased the Fitness Corner Gym in Erskine Street from Lennie Bateup, Soper returned home to run the business and have a game of football.
He last played in Dubbo in the 2002 grand final as half-back for the Justin Yeo captain-coached CYMS side that won the Group 11 first grade grand final 29-14 at the expense of Narromine.
On the same day his current CYMS captain-coach Blake Tremain-Cannon was in the winning Narromine Jets under-18s side that beat Macquarie Raiders 42-24, with Tremain-Cannon later named player of the year.
Soper then went to West Tigers and Tremain-Cannon to Newcastle.
Now they’re both back in Group 11 and together at CYMS.
“My dad told me about the gym being up for sale so I looked at it as an opportunity to get back home,” Soper said.
“I’ve been doing personal fitness training in Sydney so this was something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
“Then to link back up with CYMS came about and now I’ve found myself in first grade for Sunday.”
After leaving Dubbo, Soper joined Wests Tigers and played in the same junior sides as current NRL first graders Ben Roberts, Dean Collis, Liam Fulton and Bryce Gibbs.
His CYMS team-mate and the man he replaces on Sunday at lock, Peter Lett, also came along to the same club and they played together.
Soper had three years with Wests then went to Picton in Group 6 and then Shellharbour.
Tremain-Cannon said Soper’s signing comes as a boost for the club ahead of the clash with Cobar Roosters at No.1 Oval, then the start of the second round of matches taking on Macquarie Raiders the following weekend.
“I think Brad will be great for CYMS,” the CYMS captain-coach said.
“He knows the club, he knows the culture and he won’t have any trouble fitting in.
“He’ll be playing at lock on Sunday with Peter Lett out injured but he’s a versatile player who can fit in anywhere.
“Brad’s fitness is another big plus. I’m confident he will go well.”
Tremain-Cannon said his side would be looking for a big improvement on their attack against Cobar.
“We were fairly ordinary on the left and right edges against Parkes and we need to get our halves (Matt Naden and Craig McLean) to be more dominant,” he said.
“Even thought we’re nearly halfway through the season we’re still a work in progress.”
Cobar have won only one game this season (30-22 against Narromine) but on their day can surprise.
They are coming off a 34-16 loss to Wellington last week.
They matched it with the visitors up front but poor handling led to turnovers and the quick Wellington backs made the best of their opportunities to run away with it.
Outstanding five-eighth Chris Gilbert will be a key man for the Roosters.
n DUBBO CYMS:
1 Blake Tremain-Cannon, 2 Ben Bruce, 3 Tom Besgrove, 4 Chris Walkom, 5 Epa Nuvale, 6 Craig McLean, 7 Matt Naden, 8 Kurt Large, 9 Luke Jenkins, 10 Peni Naqua, 11 Jaryd Ritchie, 12 Alex Frail, 13 Brad Soper. Interchange: 14 Darren Toomey, 15 Reece Large.
1 Matt Garland, 2 Shannon Boney, 3 Jarved Colling, 4 Matt McBride, 5 Nathan Orcher, 6 Chris Gilbert, 7 Jay Egan, 8 Ben Wright, 9 Cole Jermyn, 10 Damian Frize, 11 Chris Barnett, 12 Jason Kershaw, 13 Troy Hayman. Interchange: 14 Bruce Morris, 15 Eddie Orcher.