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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Club Web Sites

1st Grade Ladder

1. 2016 XXXX GOLD First Grade
1 South City 33
2 Gundagai 30
3 Junee 28
4 Albury 26
5 Young 25
6 Temora 20
7 Brothers 16
8 Tumbarumba 12
9 Cootamundra 11
10 Kangaroos 10
11 Tumut 9

Burmeister Shield

2. 2016 Burmiester Shield
1 Gundagai 34
2 South City 31
3 Temora 26
4 Junee 24
5 Albury 23
6 Brothers 22
7 Kangaroos 18
8 Young 17
9 Tumut 11
10 Cootamundra 10
11 Tumbarumba 4


3. 2016 League Tag
1 Brothers 34
2 Albury 32
3 Temora 29
4 Gundagai 29
5 Young 26
6 Tumbarumba 20
7 Kangaroos 14
8 Tumut 11
9 Junee 11
10 South City 10
11 Cootamundra 0

Weissel Cup

4. 2016 Wiessel Cup
1 South City 34
2 Tumut 31
3 Young 26
4 Brothers 25
5 Albury 24
6 Gundagai 22
7 Temora 22
8 Cootamundra 14
9 Kangaroos 12
10 Tumbarumba 4

Sullivan Cup

5. 2016 Sullivan Cup
1 Kangaroos 33
2 Cootamundra 28
3 Albury 28
4 Gundagai 27
5 South City 25
6 Temora 22
7 Tumut 15
8 Brothers 14
9 Young 12

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