Van Goghs prepare for finals campaign

MAN ON A MISSION: Vincentia Van Goghs' Craig Bear has been one of his team's top performers this season. Photo: KRISTEN COOK
MAN ON A MISSION: Vincentia Van Goghs' Craig Bear has been one of his team's top performers this season. Photo: KRISTEN COOK

AFTER breaking through for their maiden premiership in 2015, the Vincenita Van Goghs are determined to add a second piece of silverware to their trophy cabinet.

Especially considering they lost last year’s decider 23-15 to Vikings – a loss which forced the club to make changes.

“During the off-season, it was decided off the field the Van Gones Golden Oldies Club would merge with the Van Goghs to become the Vincentia Van Goghs Rugby Club,” Van Goghs’ Shawn Bugg said.

“The committee thought long and hard about this process and the goal was to grow rugby in the local area and hopefully attract more players to the club, both young and old and give us a stronger playing roster.

“On the field, we grew the coaching staff and we had Steve Glenday join us – Steve is a very experienced rugby coach and principal at Vincentia High School, who has brought with him some new coaching techniques to expand on what we had learned from previous years and also a few younger guys from the local high school.

“Steve and Ian Cook concentrated on the forwards while I took charge of the backs.”

At the end of the regular season, the Van Goghs, finished in third position, behind Shoals and Avondale – thanks to strong seasons from Craig Bear, Karl Rawlins, Jeremy Thomas, Tane Matson and Allistar Flanders.

“It has been an up and down season for the team and we have struggled for consistency - we lost some very experienced players to retirement and we have certainly had our fair share of injuries this season,” Bugg said.

“We needed to fill the loss of the retired players and we have unearthed some young talent from the area and although they are very new to rugby, the future is looking bright.

“Hopefully the boys can put it all together for the finals.”

Their finals campaign starts this Sunday at Camden Rugby Ground, when they again battle Vikings in the minor semi-final.

“We need to start the game well on Sunday and be clinical when we have our chance with the ball in hand,” Bugg said.

“Our defence is strong and we need to build pressure from this and hopefully with some clean ball from the forwards, the backs should be able to score some points.

“History tells us that we will need to be at our best to beat them.”

Squad: John Walker, Corey Morrison, Brendan Gibson, Adam Drummond, Jackson Oakes, Craig Bear, Jeremy Thomas, Karl Rawlins, Brad Morris, Tane Matson, Hugo Roszkiewicz, Craig Paku, Allistar Flanders, Ryley Hendrie, Shawn Bugg, Pat Matson, Sean Bow, Bradly Baldwin, Harry Taylor, Josh Pickering, Joshua Bugg, Thomas Storm, Mark Ross.