By Les Muir

WITH D-DAY approaching, Cootamundra’s flagging rugby league fortunes are unlikely to lead to the Bulldogs being booted out of the Group Nine premiership this year.

At a time when Cootamundra is struggling for players across all the grades, including Leaguetag, Group Nine operations manager Peter Ryan is fiercely determined to keep the club in the Group Nine fold.

 “No one wants to see them (Cootamundra) not playing (in 2016),” Ryan said on Tuesday.

“It wouldn’t be any good for Cootamundra to be out of the competition for one or two years as they rebuild.

“People would lose interest, and the players would go and play something else.”

Despite Ryan’s staunch support for the embattled club, even he admits Cootamundra’s ailing position is a “big concern”.

“They seem to be in a bit of trouble,” Ryan said.

“We have to try to find out how much (trouble).”

Significantly, Cootamundra’s precarious state will be in the glare of the spotlight at a full Group Nine meeting on March 2.

Ryan said all clubs would be required at the general meeting to publicly declare the number of teams they would field in 2016.

“They (clubs) have to say whether they will have five teams or four teams or whatever,” he said.

While the majority of the 11 clubs are expected to nominate five teams for 2016, there are fears the Bulldogs may have only two teams – first grade and only one junior grade.

It is understood Cootamundra will struggle to have sufficient players for reserve grade and an exodus of female players has also cast a cloud over Leaguetag.

Ryan is adamant Cootamundra’s fate could ultimately fall to the other 10 clubs.

“There might have to be a special meeting, maybe extraordinary general meeting, and it could be put to the clubs,” Ryan said.

For Cootamundra, the off-season has been a disaster, with a growing list of senior players, including Matt Forsyth, Grant Boyd, Shannon Rupapere and Luke Berkrey, cutting ties with the club.

Compounding the drama has been a delay in signing a first grade coach.

The Bulldogs originally secured Hayden Crockett, but the deal fell through, and doubt has now been cast on the prospect of Jade Williams taking over.


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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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