Rocky club back in A-grade after missing 2017 season
RUGBY UNION: Colts will return to rugby's A-grade ranks in season 2018 after a one-year absence from the top division.
In what is shaping as a big year for Rugby Capricornia, seven teams will contest both the A-grade and reserve grade men's competitions and an inaugural women's comp is also set to kick off.
Colts treasurer Zach Jones said a concerted effort had been made in the past 12 months to get an A-grade team back on the park.
A lack of player numbers prompted the decision but at the time, Jones was adamant the club would only be out for the year.
"It was a big focus of ours to make sure that we didn't go more than that one season," he said.
"There was an active recruitment process but I believe a lot of it has to do with the culture created within the club last year.
"People genuinely enjoyed playing with us week after week and that naturally attracted more people who wanted to be involved.
"The other big positive is we saw a number of our reserve grade players really step up and become leaders within the club."
Jones maintains that Colts' absence from A-grade last year helped to galvanise and unify the club.
"Everyone involved, even former players and supporters, was very disappointed that we couldn't field an A-grade team and it was our No.1 goal to rectify that.
"While in a lot of ways it was a bad thing, it was also a good thing because it got everyone on the same page and really lifted the motivation levels.
"I can tell you there's going to be a lot of people who are very happy to see Colts back."
Jones said pre-season training was in full swing, with two former players in the senior coaching roles - Damien Hoffman (A-grade) and Alan Smyth (reserve grade).
With the senior club season set to start in six weeks, Rugby Capricornia chairman Douglas Rodgers is excited about what lies ahead.
Biloela will play in A-grade for the first time in a long time, while University will return after two years out of the game in a combined UniBoars team in reserve grade.
"2018 looks like being a great year for rugby in this region," Rodgers said.
"We've had a couple of lean years for a number of different reasons but this year we've got nominations increasing.
"We've done a lot of work over the last year getting rugby back on its feet and getting it back to a self-governing model.
"I'm buoyed by the way the clubs have really stepped up and engaged with the process."
Rugby Capricornia will hold its annual general meeting on Saturday, February 3, and is taking nominations for three positions - chairman and two directors.
The board is made up of a chairman, four elected directors and two appointees.
Rodgers will put his hand up for the top job again and encouraged other motivated individuals interested in driving the success of rugby in the region to put theirs up as well.
"I think one of the real strengths that any board can have is diversity.
"To have people with different skills and different interests and from different backgrounds is really important.
"Rugby Capricornia is also seeking people for a range of operational roles involved with men's and women's competition and the representative program," he said.
Nominations close at the end of business tomorrow.
WHO'S PLAYING IN 2018
A-grade: Biloela, Brothers, Cap Coast, Colts, Drovers, Frenchville, Gladstone
Reserve grade: Brothers, Cap Coast, Colts, Drovers, Frenchville, Mt Morgan, UniBoars