Bilambil under-16 coach Ian Graham is determined to grow the club’s junior ranks in 2010.
Bilambil under-16 coach Ian Graham is determined to grow the club’s junior ranks in 2010.

Bilambil JRL wants young recruits

“BILAMBIL Junior Rugby League Football Club wants you.”

Distinguished Queensland Cup campaigner-turned junior mentor, Ian Graham, is fiercely recruiting talent for the upcoming Group 18 JRL competition.

Despite struggling for numbers in recent seasons, the veteran enforcer has been overwhelmed by the commitment of his troops.

Graham has coached the same gritty outfit from under-13s to under-15s, watching them put their bodies on the line week-in week-out.

Now, he says, it’s his turn to step up to the plate, secure more signatures and bolster the strength of the under-16 side.

“The boys have had a hard time of it for the past few years but have never thrown in the towel, so it’s my turn to step up and help them out,” Graham said.

“I’ve relied on them to get mates down in the past, but now I’m actively pursuing players.

“The character of these lads is great – they’ve played short many weeks, but never lay down.

“They work hard each year and towards the back end of last season they were really starting to turn things around against the better sides.

“We had a couple of new kids come down last year who proved very handy, and with any luck we’ll get a couple more this season.

“I just encourage them to head towards the light at the end of the tunnel – senior football.”

On the back of last year’s success in the senior grades – finals appearances across each of the first, reserve and under-19 grades – Graham is confident more parents will look at Bilambil as a genuine pathway to top-flight Gold Coast Rugby League.

He encourages parents to head down to the club and experience for themselves the supportive, welcoming atmosphere.

“There is a real sense of community at Bilambil, no divides,” Graham said.

“There is great interaction between everyone and everyone is supportive of each other; the coaches of players and parents of coaches as everyone is understanding of what we are trying to achieve.

“Junior league is about more than just the footy, its about developing life skills as well, like respect, discipline and team work, as well as learning about strength and conditioning, and even nutrition, and that’s what players get at Bilambil.”

A former Canberra Raider squad member, Queensland Cup winner with Redcliffe, and Tweed Heads Seagull, Graham pursued his passion into the coaching ranks, working with the Redcliffe juniors and reserves and Easts under-19s, while attaining a level three high performance certificate.

At Bilambil, Graham has teamed with Queensland Cup coach Troy McCarthy, now coaching Bilambil first grade.

Sign-on days are for the next two Saturdays (February 6 and 13) from 10am at the junior club house.



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