The Isis Devils are firing up with a view to booking a return to the Bundaberg Rugby League in 2020.
The Devils and its cohort of supporters was a vital ingredient missing from the mix of teams in the local football competition last year as dwindling player numbers caused the club to sit out the 2019 season.
However, a new committee, coaches in three grades and almost 40 players at training this week has expectations running high that the club is back on track and ready to rumble.
New president Rhonda Campbell said the signs are all positive for the Isis Devils 2020 return.
“We have all club executive positions filled and we have people undertaking the various training and qualification courses required of each club.
“Importantly we have our coaches in place for A Grade and the women's team with a decision to be made by the committee on two applications for the Under 18 coaching position.
“The A grade coach is Jake Thompson, a local man from a footballing family that has had a long association with the Isis Devils. Jake will be assisted by local football patriarch and legend Danny Fewquandie.
“We have also been fortunate to lure former top player and coach Greg Royan back to assist the club and Greg will be coaching the women's team,” Rhonda said.
She said the turnaround in the club's fortunes grew on the back of an Under 18 squad which has around 22 players ready to take the field.
“There is a lot of local pride in this group of young men. They are all mates and have played a lot of sport together.”
Rhonda said that the Bundaberg Rugby League had provided a deadline of December 9 for the Devils to provide evidence of player registrations to provide a pathway for a return to the BRL competition.
A Grade coach Jake Thompson said he had no doubts that the Devils will be back in the BRL in 2020.
“We have a nucleus of local players headed by the likes of Tim Cole, Royce Blair and Zac Dann and I know the players we have secured from other areas that are coming on board.
“We will form for 2020,” he said.
“We just picked up another player tonight who played A Grade at the Sunshine Coast so with the season more than three months away I am very confident of fielding a strong squad.”
Isis Devils 2020 comeback hinges on player numbers
Coach of the women's team, Greg Royan said the club was still looking for more women to come on board with the team.
“We have a few good players but realistically we need a squad of around 20 to ensure we have the necessary depth to cover injuries and absences.”
Two of the women's team members, Renee Imrock and Ana Kehl, are hoping the women's comp eventuates.
Ana, a boilermaker at the Isis Central Sugar Mill, has played women's rugby league before but wants to play for her home team.
“I played with a Bundaberg based club previously but the travelling really makes it quite difficult.”
Both women participated in the set drills and tackling practice with the rest of the players and showed plenty of venom in their willingness to hit the tackle bags.
One change the Isis Devils has made to cater to work and family commitments for its players is to restrict training to one night per week.
Thompson said he fully understood the difficulties involved in travelling to training.
“I would rather have everyone there one night rather than half teams twice a week.”
Bundaberg Rugby League president Mike Ireland was cautiously optimistic regarding the Isis Devils plans to rejoin the BRL.
“We have a meeting on December 9 and hopefully the club will be able to supply player registrations at that meeting that indicate they have numbers.
“Ideally, the BRL and its affiliated clubs would like some assurance that Isis can commit to an ongoing presence within the local competition. We really do want this to be more than a one season appearance.”
Ireland said there were a number of options open to Isis regarding involvement in the competition.
The meeting on December 9 will result in some recommendations being put forward for the consideration of BRL stakeholders, he said.
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