Lower grades ready to shine after success of senior side

William Ingram, pictured scoring against Orange Hawks in the major semi-final, has juggled playing first grade and coaching the reserves in 2018.
William Ingram, pictured scoring against Orange Hawks in the major semi-final, has juggled playing first grade and coaching the reserves in 2018.

Cowra rugby league club president Marc McLeish believes the success of this year’s first grade team will “trickle through” to the lower grades.

A plan to sustain success throughout the next five years has McLeish brimming with excitement for future campaigns, after reserves, under 18s and ladies’ league tag missed out on their respective finals in 2018.

Despite that, the president heaped praise on the lower grades and the effort they put in this year.

He identified William Ingram, captain-coach of reserves. 

Part of the first grade playing group, Ingram returned to the Magpies this year after a two-year stint at Blayney.

“I’m very impressed with how William Ingram’s handled the reserve grade job, it’s the hardest job in the club,” McLeish said.

“How any bloke can play quality football in first grade as well as manage reserves is beyond me and he’s done very, very well.

“While he was at Blayney for a few years, we always knew his heart has always been here. When the opportunity came to get him back we knew that was where we needed him.”

Under 18s, coached by Brendan Tidswell, clawed their way into contention late in the season, however finished outside the top five due to a lower points differential.

Two players, Noah Ryan and Jared Burns, represented Group 10.

McLeish said the team’s final round victory over Lithgow with 12-men was one of highlights of the season.

“I was very impressed with them. I was very pleased. I was proud of the effort they put in against Lithgow when there was no chance of making the finals,” McLeish said.

”It was Brendan Tidswell’s first time coaching a senior boys side and he handled himself well.”

McLeish said the future looks bright for the 18s with seven or eight eligible again in 2019 and a quality crop of 16s to emerge.

Cowra ladies’ league tag is the team McLeish believes can make a big mark on Group 10, thanks to a blossoming junior system providing the senior team with skilled players.

“They’re going to be a premiership force in the next few years in my opinion. It’s a matter of getting them to stick to it for a little while,” he said. “The clubs proud, and the town’s proud of them,” he added.