By Les Muir

LIFTING the gloom on a bleak off-season, Cootamundra has secured a prominent captain-coach to try to steer the Bulldogs to Group Nine salvation.

In a remarkable twist, Jade Williams has stepped up to replace Hayden Crockett as Cootamundra coach this year.

Crockett was originally signed to the Bulldogs position in November, but subsequently turned his back on the club, abruptly leaving the Bulldogs in crisis.

However, Cootamundra stalwart Tony Morton confirmed on Wednesday that Williams has now taken up the vacant Bulldogs coaching role.

 “He (Williams) has agreed to terms, but hasn’t signed yet,” Morton said.

“Hopefully everything will be sorted by next week.

“He (Williams) should be good for us.”

 Coming at a time when Cootamundra is struggling for talent, the signing of Williams will be a godsend for the Bulldogs.

Cootamundra has leaked a string of players since last season, including former captain-coaches Luke Berkrey and Grant Boyd and gun playmaker Shannon Rupapere.

Berkrey and Boyd have been lured to Queanbeyan and Temora respectively, while Rupapere has applied for a clearance to join Albury.

For Williams, the opportunity to coach Cootamundra is his latest stop in a football odyssey.

Two years ago Williams returned to the Riverina to coach Junee, but ultimately split with the Diesels before linking with Kangaroos.

Only recently, it seemed Williams was set to play with Roos again in 2016, but plans changed when the Cootamundra job was in the table again.

Williams will bring a wealth of experience and unbridled class to the Bulldogs, signalling hope of a rebirth of the beleaguered team.

Morton said Cootamundra would have a competitive first grad team this year and would also field an under-16 team in the Sullivan Cup competition.

“We’ll wait and see for the rest,” he said.

The Bulldogs have lost three senior Leaguetag players and also have a shortage of reserve graders.

Cootamundra remains optimistic recent acquisitions Anthony Leao-Seve, Soni Vaudreu and Daini Feej will stay, but a cloud definitely still hangs over their plans.

Morton is adamant rival Group Nine clubs are in a better position to attract players.

“They’ve got more money than us,” he said.

Significantly, two other Group Nine clubs are in the throes if finalising deals with big-name front rowers.


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1st Grade Ladder

1. 2016 XXXX GOLD First Grade
1 South City 27
2 Gundagai 26
3 Junee 24
4 Young 23
5 Albury 20
6 Temora 18
7 Brothers 10
8 Cootamundra 9
9 Tumut 9
10 Kangaroos 8
11 Tumbarumba 8

Burmeister Shield

2. 2016 Burmiester Shield
1 Gundagai 28
2 South City 25
3 Temora 20
4 Junee 20
5 Albury 19
6 Brothers 18
7 Kangaroos 16
8 Young 15
9 Cootamundra 10
10 Tumut 9
11 Tumbarumba 2


3. 2016 League Tag
1 Brothers 28
2 Albury 26
3 Temora 25
4 Gundagai 25
5 Young 22
6 Tumbarumba 14
7 Tumut 11
8 Junee 11
9 Kangaroos 10
10 South City 6
11 Cootamundra 0

Weissel Cup

4. 2016 Wiessel Cup
1 South City 28
2 Tumut 27
3 Young 20
4 Albury 20
5 Brothers 19
6 Gundagai 18
7 Temora 18
8 Cootamundra 14
9 Kangaroos 10
10 Tumbarumba 4

Sullivan Cup

5. 2016 Sullivan Cup
1 Kangaroos 29
2 Albury 24
3 Cootamundra 23
4 Gundagai 21
5 South City 20
6 Temora 18
7 Brothers 14
8 Tumut 11
9 Young 10
Group 9 v Group 20 under 16 & 18 rep games at Parramore Park on Sunday from 10am

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