The Moss Vale Dragons will be a separate entity in the 2001 Group 6 Rugby League competition, buoyed by the addition of a new captain/coach and several Chr(39)importedChr(39) players.
Former Wests Tigers coaching staff member Robert Wilesmith will be the new captain/coach, the club recently announced.
Wilesmith has a wealth of experience in the Group 6 competition, having played for the premiership winning Warragamba team in 1989 and in OakdaleChr(39)s grand finalist team in 1991 as a front rower.
Moss Vale Dragons Committee Vice President Tony Mitchell said the Dragons would be securing at least five, and possibly 10, players from out of the area.
The move has ensured the league team will Chr(39)definitelyChr(39) not again team with the Bowral/Robertson Pioneers as they did this year.
“I canChr(39)t see us not standing alone with the way itChr(39)s going,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell welcomed the clubChr(39)s action, and claimed the Dragons return as a separate team has already brought back several of the teamChr(39)s former sponsors.
He concedes the luring of players from outside the area is a last resort, but claims the move will help the club regain its local popularity.
“You get to a point where you try everything locally but when you donChr(39)t have any players you have no choice,” he said.
“ItChr(39)s up to us to start winning games and to get people through the gates.
Mitchell acknowledged both the Bowral/Robertson and Moss Vale teams had struggled this year, and the club had to take more affirmative action for the upcoming season.
The new plan for the club also aims to encourage more local players to bolster the ranks, hopefully persuaded by the clubChr(39)s more competitive Group 6 stance.
Although Mitchell did not release the names of players expected to sign with Moss Vale, he said three of them were from the first division Sydney competition and another two were from the premiership winning team in the Sydney tertiary league.
The new recruits include several specialist backs including five-eighth, halfback, centre and fullback and also two front rowers.
Mitchell refused to tell of the financial packages offered to the players, if any, but said sponsors had Chr(39)kicked inChr(39) to get the club off to a good start.
And despite the imminent placement of a points system to curb clubs using too many quality players from outside the clubChr(39)s area, Mitchell said the club will still be within the new Group 6 regulations.
The final terms and conditions of the ruling has not yet passed the board, but at this stage clubChr(39)s will be placed on a point restriction based on the townChr(39)s population (see draft plan below).
The Moss Vale Dragons will also field a reserve grade side and an under 18s team for the first time in six years.
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