'We wouldn’t have got a look in': CSU Bathurst created opening for Eagles in tier one

Tom Dewhurst and Tim Berry, pictured last season, were part of the player group pushing for a spot in tier one in 2018.
Tom Dewhurst and Tim Berry, pictured last season, were part of the player group pushing for a spot in tier one in 2018.

Cowra Eagles Rugby Union Club will compete in tier one of the Blowes Clothing Cup in 2018, despite staring down the barrel of tier two since the new structure was put forward in August.

The announcement of Cowra as a tier one club was made by outgoing Central West Rugby Union (CWRU) CEO Peter Veenstra on Monday morning, however he also revealed CSU Bathurst will fill the void Cowra has in the colts premiership in 2018.

Nominating for president at the Eagles’ annual general meeting next week, Ian Robertson, who was involved throughout the process, revealed Cowra was originally “penciled in” as a tier two club, with CSU in tier one.

Opposing that, Cowra put forward an alternate model maintaining a 10 team competition, however it was rejected and the new two tier structure was reinforced.

CSU, though, according to Robertson, noting the welfare of its players, decided tier two was a better option, which provided an opening for the Eagles in tier one.

Robertson said it’s a positive outcome for the Cowra Eagles, without consent to the two tier structure.

“There’s no doubt if CSU said they’d play in tier one we wouldn’t have got a look in,” Robertson said.

“Where the clubs were destined to go was determined by colts.

“They originally had Cowra penciled in tier two.”

Benefits for Cowra playing in tier one include complete focus on two grades and the women’s team, less travel and competing in the higher strength competition.

Robertson said the Eagles would have spiraled into decline if it wasn’t in the top tier.

“We fought hard because it’s what our players want,” he said.

“But if the players didn’t want it, we wouldn’t have fought for it.

“The players are absolutely looking forward to it,” he said.

The end result gives Cowra a chance to “revisit” how the club operates, Robertson said, with a new streamlined committee expected to be announced following its annual general meeting.

“It’s really positive for us. We need to think and get things done for the future.”

Cowra joins Orange Emus, Orange City, Bathurst Bulldogs, Forbes Platypi and Dubbo Roos in the new look competition.

The second tier will include CSU Bathurst, Mudgee, Dubbo Rhinos, Parkes, Narromine and Blayney.

A draft draw for the 2018 season has 15 rounds with the finals series to be contested between the top four sides.

The remaining clubs in the zone will contest either the south and north Graincorp Cup competitions.