The J7 Maroon team – the mighty Lions – are a mix of second-year players from J8 and some kids who were brand new to Rippa this year. We shifted training to Stafford Park this year partly to avoid the traffic at Harvey Wright, but mainly cause the coach lives round the corner.
Warm-ups catching bombs from the coaches and then kicking balls down the terraced hills at Stafford were a highlight – I think we only had one bloody nose! The kids trained hard turned up in numbers and were a bundle of energy always. In our games, the Lions probably lost more games than we won, yet despite that, we had many triumphs along the way.
All of the team developed their game and improved throughout the year, most of all they all seemed to have fun and started to understand what being a part of a team was all about. “Lions hunt as a pack” was our saying! Our defensive wall was a thing to behold – perhaps the best in the competition – our ripping a work in progress!
With some of the team still eligible for J7 next year that will come. For the rest, it’s on to the rough and tumble of tackle rugby which the older kids are ready for. Our games at practice turned pretty rough towards the end of the season. A good sign for next year. On attack, our passing and support play were fantastic with some great tries scored. We probably lacked the pace (and size) of many teams so it was nice to see us develop the passing and support skills to counter that. Sprint drills for summer parents, please! We had so many stars I can’t name them and choosing the end of year awards was really tough in such a tight group. Well done to those who did win prizes – very well deserved.
No team is complete without the support of friends and family. We had a great group of parents/grandparents who turned up rain or shine and cheered on the kids. Special thanks to the rock of the team, Manager Lilly Beech, and Mike Smith for co-coaching for the second half of the season. The Lions are a great team that continues to grow – great kids who enjoy hanging with their mates, getting dirty, getting the odd try or rip, and who wear their Cote colours with pride. Sometimes to bed. It’s been a pleasure to coach this team, I’m glad I was already bald, and I hope to see you all back next year.
Go the Cote and go the Lions.