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Friendly rivalry: Barooga and Cobram clash

Barooga the hot favourites for the Cobram Courier Shield this Saturday in Murray Football League seniors.

ROB HENSON July 16, 2014 3:45am

Up for grabs: Barooga Football Netball Club president Andrew Leighton-Daly and Cobram Football Netball Club president Chris Ryan with the Cobram Courier Shield.


 

In almost four decades of the Cobram Courier Shield the likely winner has never been more clear.

But Barooga and Cobram football netball club presidents say there’s more to sport than the top side’s results.

In the past 36 years Barooga has won the shield 23 times, but the past three years Cobram has been victorious.

‘‘It’s our turn,’’ Barooga Football Netball Club president Andrew Leighton-Daly said of this Saturday’s clash at Scott Oval.

He said both clubs had a mutual respect off the field.

‘‘But when we play against each other I think the game has a special meaning.’’

Cobram club president Chris Ryan said the rivalry was built on everyday interactions.

‘‘Across the two towns a lot of people have gone to school together, worked together, so it’s interesting, no matter where the teams might be on the ladder at the time.’’

In seniors, Barooga is overwhelming favourite, at sixth on the ladder, while Cobram remains winless.

Leighton-Daly said Barooga empathised because last year it finished second-last, with one win and 17 losses.

‘‘We have a a lot of respect for Cobram Football Netball Club. We understand where they are ladder-wise this year, we were at a similar state last year,’’ Leighton-Daly said.

‘‘We’re both looking forward to having relatively successful years, and if it’s gauged by where you land on the ladder so be it,’’ he said.

‘‘But I think from a club perspective we’re both on the right track, and that is to develop and engage.’’

Ryan said while fans liked to judge a club on its senior side, there was a lot more going on at the Tigers.

‘‘People ask, ‘Why’s the club in turmoil?’, and I say ‘The club’s not in turmoil’. (Seniors) are very weak this year for a variety of reasons, but the club’s going very well.’’

Indeed Cobram under-14s are second and under-17s are third — both are only two wins away from top billing.

Earlier this year league administrators, club presidents from Murray and Picola and District leagues and local business people discussed the future of footy in the region, amid dwindling numbers in junior ranks for some clubs.

‘‘Cobram has been really lucky having really good numbers... (Barooga is) okay in under-14s, but in under-17s we’ve struggled,’’ Leighton-Daly said.

‘‘We’ve managed to field a reasonably competitive side every week and we’re hopeful things will turn around next year.’’

The discussions prompted reports about potential mergers, but the club presidents said that was only one of many options on the table.

‘‘We’re still prepared to sit down and discuss. There’s a wide variety of options available, and we have to go through the correct processes,’’ Leighton-Daly said.

Continued on page 18.

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