Capras' bold back to the future bid to turn fortunes around
MORE than 600 men have pulled on a Capras or Comets jersey over the years, but when their playing days are over, too many of them walk away thinking they have nothing else to offer.
Rockhampton Leagues Club Capras CEO Peter White and Capras Old Boys Committee chairman Greg Reynolds are trying to change that mindset.
They've put out a call to all past and present players to attend the club's Old Boys Day on Saturday, August 31, in the hope that the pride shown in the Capras jumper by the greats of yesteryear filters through to the current generation.
On that day, the home of Central Queensland rugby league Browne Park, will not only play host to the Capras final Intrust Super Cup match of the season against the Burleigh Bears, but also to a reunion which is hoped will attract 150 to 200 "old boys”.
CEO White will also outline his vision for the club moving forward, as well as provide an update on its current programs and other behind-the-scenes happenings.
"I know what it's like being an ex-footballer - you kind of feel when you're finished playing that you're done now and the club has no use for you,” White said yesterday.
"But I would love nothing better than to see anyone who's a Capras Old Boy - or anyone who's been a player, coach or even support staff - come and be a part of the Old Boys Day.
"We know what the jumper means to us old boys and it's important these younger guys see that.
"It's a passion that's not unlike Queensland Origin I suppose.
"You know I still consider myself a Capra even though I'm an old fart now.
"I still look out there to see who's wearing my number, to see if they're aiming up and having a red-hot go, because they're wearing that jersey that's sacred to us.”
White is a realist and he doesn't shy away from the fact the club has a lot of work to do to turn around a disappointing 2019 Intrust Super Cup season which has returned just the one win from 20 outings.
"We're building from the ground up,” he said.
"One of the most important things we've had to do is stop, or at least stem the tide, of our young boys coming out of the school system and being poached by other Intrust Super Cup clubs - that's the reality.”
When asked how the Capras could do that, White was very clear.
"We show these young blokes that we care.
"We put something in front of them and we just let them know that.
"And that's why we invite the parents to come along when we have these discussions with young players, because they want to know what the options are for their kids.
"We do a lot of work with our sponsors and partners to create job opportunities for the young guys coming through, to create apprenticeship opportunities and job opportunities locally so that these kids don't leave the area and go elsewhere.”
In White's corner is Capras board member and Old Boys legend Reynolds, a former club captain in the 80s, who is arguably one of the most passionate figures in the local game.
"If we can keep the talented kids here, and there's plenty of them, they will grow into our stars,” Reynolds said.
"Now we've got Capras from juniors, from under-13s up, we want to bring all those kids through the system and not lose them.
"But we need positive thinking and through things like the Old Boys Day we want to make our kids feel as proud as what we are to have played for the Capras back in the old days.
"You know, we (club) tried buying players (previously) to make a team and all we did was see them come here, blow in and blow out, and they were gone.
"We need genuine boys who want to live and work in the area because we get more value out of them.
"And you could see when they played last Saturday night, there were about six or seven under-20s in that Capras side and they were up against a Townsville Blackhawks team that had about seven NRL players.
"To only be beaten 32-6 was a real credit to how those young boys really went.
"If we can keep those kids here, they will grow and grow and become our stars.”
For more information about the Old Boys Day contact Greg Reynolds on 0438 825 176.
CAPRAS/COMETS OLD BOYS DAY
When: Saturday, August 31.
Where: Browne Park.
1pm: Assemble - meet and greet - Rockhampton Leagues Club attendance sign-on.
2pm: Function Room - Capras update by CEO Peter White, Coach Dave Faiumu and Capras board members.
- Capras - Find out what is going on behind the scenes.
- Capras Academies, well-being and development pathways for U13 - U20 to ISC.
- Old Boys player interviews - the good, the bad and the ugly tales. Relive the glory days with your Capras/Comets mates.
- Move to the bar area and get ready to cheer on the Capras Intrust Super Cup teams.
3pm: Under-10 Capras Cup - Sacred Heart vs Rockhampton Grammar School.
4pm: ISC Under-20 Capras vs Burleigh Bears.
6pm: Rockhampton Leagues Club Capras vs Burleigh Bears.