Central West boss Matt Tink hails effort of Oilsplus Cup clubs

IN THE CLEAR: Keiran Brien in action for the Wellington Redbacks in last season's Oilsplus grand final. Photo: AMY McINTYRE
IN THE CLEAR: Keiran Brien in action for the Wellington Redbacks in last season's Oilsplus grand final. Photo: AMY McINTYRE

It was only a few weeks ago the Wellington Redbacks had decided to skip the 2020 season.

The club had claimed the 2019 Oilsplus Cup in thrilling fashion but amid the ongoing uncertainty around play due to COVID-19 there was real doubt around taking to the field this year.

But now they're fully committed again.

The Redbacks are one of seven clubs which will contest the Oilsplus Cup in a modified 2020 season after Central West Rugby Union (CWRU) released the fixtures on Friday.

There will be eight clubs contesting the Oilsplus South West Cup as well and CWRU Matt Tink said those clubs deserved a huge amount of credit.

While it was understandable while clubs like the Dubbo Kangaroos, Bathurst Bulldogs and Orange Emus would want to play given the more professional nature of the premier Blowes Clothing Cup, things were never quite as certain in the two third division competitions.

It's about having a good time and throwing on the boots with your mates as much as the results in those matches but players and officials from the 15 Oilsplus Cup clubs are willing to do what's needed to make rugby a reality in the region this year.

"The Oilsplus Cup clubs are amazing," Tink said.

"They're one-team clubs and they're well supported by their towns.

"The Saturday afternoon in those towns are fantastic days out and the camaraderie between those clubs is inspiring."

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Clubs had to complete COVID safety plans before any return to training while a COVID officer must be appointed and a number of restrictions are likely to be in place on game day.

But not only are the clubs - minus Trangie and Yeoval who have opted to withdraw from competition this year - willing to do that, an old face has also returned to the competition.

The Coonabarabran Kookaburras are back and will contest the Oilsplus Cup alongside Wellington, Geurie, Molong, Blayney, Canowindra, and Coolah.

"It's fantastic," Tink said.

"Coonabarabran is a town which has struggled through the drought and people weren't available but there's been a bit more rain and there's some people back in town from Sydney.

"Plus, the rugby league side isn't playing and some of those come across to play.

"It's a proud and traditional club."

The South West division will feature Boorowa, Condobolin, Cootamundra, Grenfell, Harden, Temora, West Wyalong, and Young.

All CWRU competitions will start on July 18.

Both Oilsplus Cup seasons will feature seven rounds before the top four move through to semi-finals on September 5.

The grand finals of both will be the following weekend, September 12.

The fixtures for both the women's and colts competitions are yet to be finalised.

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