AT THE HELM: CQ Rugby Union chief Ian Coombe has been honoured for his dedication to the code with a life membership.
AT THE HELM: CQ Rugby Union chief Ian Coombe has been honoured for his dedication to the code with a life membership. Chris Ison

Honour for CQ rugby chief

THERE are very few who would deny Ian Coombe his latest honour of life membership of Central Queensland Rugby Union.

Recently Coombe received the deserved accolade but despite serving 10 years as president and a two-year “apprenticeship” as treasurer he still considered the honour a surprise.

“It's not something I expected,” he admitted.

Coombe said he took over from temporary custodian Trevor Arnold who held the position for about 12 months after the retirement of Paul Creswick.

During his time at the top, the rugby leader admitted the code had been in a state of flux, something dictated by the state of Queensland's governing body and finances.

Also dictating the progress of rugby, and other footballing codes, has been changes in society and lack of global financial confidence.

“It would be fair to say with the under 18-19s it is difficult to get commitment,” he said.

“That age is a challenge.”

It's something administrators of other codes would agree with.

While Coombe insists there is a pathway in rugby union from youngsters joining the sport aged about eight years through to senior football, CQ's rugby boss admits that path is not always as clearly defined as in some of the other football codes.

For one thing the junior program is set to start in the next few weeks and run over the summer months.

“Ideally juniors and seniors would be run at the same time (of year),” he said.

“But then we would struggle with officials.”

Another problem would be a contest with league for players.

Administratively Coombe predicts the code will lift its profile in 2010.

“Things have ebbed and flowed a bit,” he admitted.

For next year plans are under way for the local union to again have a development officer and, if possible, an administration officer.

“People who can assist our volunteers a bit more,” he said.

Like all administrators Coombe has dreams of how he would like things to be if money was not an issue.

“I'd like to see the State Cup for both the Open and under-19 teams; I'd also like to see the under-19s tour,” he said.

“I'd like to pay more to referees and officials, provide more development officers and provide more promotion.

“I want to grow the sport.

“Ultimately I'd want to have teams good enough for Premier competition in both Open and Youth.

“At the moment players with serious potential have to go to Brisbane.”



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