Gulgong Terriers president-coach Brad James accepted the NSWRL Clayton Cup for his club and immediately issued another challenge to his players.
NSWRL director Bob Walsh (pictured above, right) attended Gulgong’s presentation night last weekend to officially hand over the cup – a fitting moment since the club also celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2023.
Gulgong won the Castlereagh Rugby League premiership with a 10-4 win over the Cobar Roosters to secure the Terriers’ first title since 2015.
“I told my players at the end of presentation night that no matter the outcome, you always want to strive to be better,” James told nswrl.com.au
“You can always challenge yourself. What better challenge than trying to go back-to-back? It’s something the Gulgong team has never done.”
The club has already enjoyed a fantastic year going through 14 rounds undefeated.
The Clayton Cup is one of the most sought-after trophies awarded to the NSWRL country-based team with the best overall record for that season.
“Very, very proud, very happy,” James said.
“It’s unbelievable for a small town like Gulgong with a population of just over 2000, to win one of the most prestigious awards in country Rugby League
“And we did it in our 100th year with an undefeated season.
“I got to be captain-coach the team this year so I’m a lucky man.”
A few of the players in the 2023 Terriers team were also part of the 2015 premiership-winning line-up.
“We had a lot of young blokes come through our juniors too and some other guys moved to town and they signed up to,” James said.
“It’s been a great year – the town is just buzzing still.
“I took over the presidency in 2022 and myself and my family have dedicated a lot of volunteer work.
“So to see the club prosper and get all these rewards on and off the field is really, really pleasing.
“It shows that if you do work hard and you have the right attitude towards things, it definitely pays off.”
One thing seems certain, Gulgong should have no trouble attracting players for 2024.
“That’s right. If you’re successful people want to be a part of that. I’ve even had a lot of interest from sponsors too as they want to be a part of it as well,” he said.