The Coolah Roos have launched an audacious bid to return to the Castlereagh League next season.
After folding in 2018 along with the Gulargambone Galahs and Warren Bulldogs, a Rugby League resurgence has taken place in Coolah with brothers Chanse and Casey Burgess at the helm.
They have been appointed as co-coaches of the men’s tackle team, while Tori-Lee Canham will take charge of the Roos’ League Tag side.
Coolah Rugby League Club have appointed an executive committee with Hamish Kitchen leading the charge as president, while Chanse Burgess will be vice president, Narelle McGuiness-Kitchen secretary, and Breannah Burgess treasurer.
“It will be good to have footy back in Coolah,” Chanse Burgess said. The Roos are pictured above in their red-and-white jerseys playing the Dunedoo Swans.
“We’ve just moved home, and a few mates have moved home, and we recognised that we need local footy back.
“I’ve spoken to a heap of my mates that I played with in juniors, and 80 per cent of them are keen to come home or are already home, and some will travel.
“I don’t think we lost a game in junior league, but that dried up in Under 14s or thereabouts, and we went our ways.
“We’ve got a good base of blokes that played juniors here wanting a run and they want to see Rugby League back in Coolah.”
It will be a Burgess family affair in the men’s team with up to four brothers set to take the field for the Roos.
“Dad (Steve Burgess) is going to coach with us on the day and we’ll have him there to run the bench,” Burgess said.
“There are the four of us brothers, including Casey, Austin, and Jake, and it will be me and Casey running the show.”
Coolah’s most recent foray into the Castlereagh League only netted the side “a couple of wins”, but with plenty of local talent back on deck, Burgess believes the Roos will be a force and could help the club to their first title since 1965.
“We want to win, and we always had a handy side growing up,” Burgess said.
“A lot of good footballers come out of Coolah, and with a lot coming back to play, we’ll have a good side and give it a good crack.”
While Coolah wants to field two successful sides next season, Burgess said their proposed return to the competition was just as crucial for the juniors, who need a clear pathway to senior Rugby League.
“I went and watched a bit this year and it’s shot to bits and not a lot of junior league,” Burgess said.
“They would have had a handful of sides through all the grades and that’s another reason why we want to get these senior league sides going.”
Burgess said it was a club-first approach with it just as essential to have a competitive League Tag side on the paddock in 2024.
The Roos’ women will be in the right hands with a former Western Rams representative in Canham leading their charge.
“That’s why it’s good that Tori wants to coach the side,” Burgess said.
“She is a gun and has played her whole life. The younger girls know how good she is, and she will draw a lot of players in.”
The Roos are doing everything they can to be accepted into the Castlereagh League.
Still, they know it comes down to the nine current Castlereagh League teams and how they vote at the competition’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Sunday, 26 November.
Castlereagh League secretary Bryson Luff was in favour of Coolah re-joining the competition.
“They were a foundation club and one of the six clubs that kicked off the Castlereagh League in 2001,” Luff said.
Still, the decision is out of Luff’s hands.
“The clubs will vote at our AGM, and I think there are two problems Coolah faces, and that is where they will get their players from and their longevity,” Luff said.
It’s an exciting time for the Castlereagh League, which has fielded expressions of interest from Warren, Gulargambone, and Tottenham leading into their AGM.