After a long and challenging 15-month hiatus, the Corowa Rutherglen Football Netball Club’s iconic blue and white singlets were a welcome sight at John Foord Oval on Monday night.
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For many, the sight of around 40 players gracing John Foord Oval on the club’s first senior training night was a moment of relief.
“It’s nice to see blue and white back out here. It’s been a long twelve months,” Senior Football Coach Steve Owen told The Free Press.
This return was not limited to the senior team, as the thirds also returned to training following their first session last Wednesday.
“We will keep training them together so we can build on the leadership and unity within the club,” he said.
Roos development coach Ben Talarico shared his enthusiasm for the season ahead, having been impressed with last week’s first training session.
“We were rapt with last Wednesday night’s training,” he said.
“We’ve got a great bunch of young blokes who are fit, strong and keen to play their best footy in 2024.”
The club’s resurgence has been further boosted by the arrival of Sam Banfield, a strong mid-sized forward hailing from North Ringwood.
Although not present on Monday, the strong mid-size forward with a booming left foot is the latest Corowa football recruit for the club’s reset into the Ovens and Murray League.
“Sam, now 28 is in the prime of his footy career and will have a dominant impact for us both in the midfield and closer to goal,” Owen said.
“Sam joins us with an extensive footy CV.”
Banfield started his football coming through the APS Schooling system before moving to the Sandringham Dragons in the Under 18 TAC Cup.
He then progressed into the VFL System before following his father, Peter Banfield who was appointed coach of Premier Eastern Football League Club, Blackburn.
Banfield established himself as a very strong mid-sized forward with a booming left foot in Melbourne’s strongest competition and continued his good form at North Ringwood.
Corowa Rutherglen Football Netball Club welcomes Sam and his wife Jen to the Roos.
The welcome is also extended to all recruits to the John Foord Oval for season 2024.
Will Bott is keen to be part of the club’s reset. Bott returns home to the family farm after studying Agriculture at Melbourne University.
“Will has played at Finley in the Murray League, a ruck/key position prospect who is keen to test himself at the Ovens and Murray level,” Owen said.
Nick Wright has joined the Roos Culcairn where he is a previous best and fairest winner. “Nick is a speedy midfielder who can find the goals, so we think he’ll feel right at home on John Foord Oval,” Owen said.
“Nick has recently moved to Corowa to continue his career as a Vet, so be sure to hit him up for all your animal needs. Welcome aboard Dr Nick!”
The Roos are elated to have Bailey Pirnag back on board for 2024. “Bailey is another former junior from Corowa Rutherglen and spent time at the Lavi Panthers in 2023, as a hard-working defending, midfielder who was part of the Panthers Reserves grand final team in 2023,” Owen said.
“We are grateful to have ‘Hally’, Jayden Hall back on board for the Roos Reset 2024! He played some games at CDHBU in 2023. Hally’s character and ability to get around everyone at the club makes him a much-loved part of the Roos community, and we are excited to have him back playing in our senior squad!”
The coach extends a welcome to Luke Arcuri who will be travelling from Geelong next year. “He is an up-and-coming player who loves the contest,” Owen said.
“Luke is ready to bring a huge amount of pressure to the forward half and is excited for the opportunity to play with his mates.”
The Roos welcome back Bailey Minogue. He played his juniors with the Roos and with CDHBU this past season.
“Bailey is a talented swingman whose versatility makes him compatible anywhere around the ground,” Owen said.
Sam Haigh has committed to the Roos for 2024. “Sam was our 2019 Reserves best and fairest and we can’t wait to see what he will achieve again,” Owen said.
“After a couple of years at CDHBU, Sam is keen to come back to the O and Murray. It will be great to have Sam, Courtney and their lovely little family back at the Roos.”
The Roos are hopping about also with the news that Jed Ansell has jumped back on board for our Roos Reset in 2024.
“Jed has had a great year at the Lavi Panthers, still pushing himself at O and M level but we will be thrilled to see him back in the Blue and white next season,” the happy coach said.
Preseason training for netball kicked off with a bang as well this week under the expert guidance of star netballer Sophie Hanrahan.
The players were put through a rigorous regimen of exercises and drills, designed to sharpen their skills, enhance their fitness, and foster a strong team spirit. With Sophie at the helm, this promises to be a season of hard work, growth, and exceptional performances on the netball court.
During Monday night’s training, Roos board member John Elmore, sitting next to club legend Arthur Warhurst, summed up the sentiments of the evening, describing the return to John Foord Oval as “absolutely fantastic”. He also playfully teased “Just wait until Easter”.