It’s been a challenging season for the Taree Wildcats, but they can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
They appear to have avoided the wooden spoon despite going through a list of players as long as the Manning River.
President Michael Wallace believes they have the right plans in place to rise up the ladder in coming years.
“We’ve played 40 different players in our grades … that’s what we’ve had to do to get through this year,” he said.
“That’s a lot of players.
“I’ve played and I’m 44 years old and played four games. It’s just because of a load of injuries, red cards and yellow cards.”
Provided the fifth-placed Northern Storm don’t slip-up to last-placed Sawtell in the final round the Wildcats can hand the wooden spoon over.
Wallace doesn’t think they’re that far away.
“We’ve won three games. If you double that is six and win one or two more and you’re close to the finals,” he said.
“We’ve been in four or five other games but we just don’t quite have the depth. That’s what the problem is. You have one or two injuries in your first grade squad and that screws you.”
Wallace was also impressed with the work the club has done off the field this year with youngsters Travis and James Goldsmith joining Wallace as players to have earned their C-license.
The Wildcats are believed to be the most accredited club for the C-license on the Mid North Coast with three.
“They’re good young kids so they’ll be around for ages and building teams through the club,” Wallace said.
“Hopefully it develops the players better.”
Wallace also encouraged young players in the 11 to 14 year age bracket to do a game leaders course.
“Every kid I’ve coached has to do it and we encourage them to do the course at the start of the year,” he said.
“We had 25 do it at the start of the year and 15 of the 25 kids were from Taree. If you start them early, hopefully by the time they get older you’ve still got a couple left.”