Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Cupido to continue driving Rumba train

Damian Cupido feels at home at Rumbalara, so much so that he has re-signed to coach the Murray Football League club for the next two seasons.

GREGOR MACTAGGART September 4, 2014 3:15am

The Rumbalara team of (back) Brook Perry, Peter Hood, Justin Terlich, Jamie Atkinson, Blayne Briggs, Levi Power, (front) Damian Cupido and Paul Briggs are pleased the former Brisbane Lions and Essendon forward has re-signed as coach for the next two seasons.

Damian Cupido has found a place like home at Rumbalara.

So when the former Brisbane Lions and Essendon forward was offered the opportunity to extend his coaching tenure at the Murray Football League club, he did not hesitate.

Cupido, 32, announced yesterday he had extended his deal as Rumba’s captain-coach for the next two seasons.

‘‘I’m happy the club has shown faith in me and pleased to be staying for the next two years,’’ Cupido said.

‘‘The club has really embraced me and made me feel at home.

‘‘We’re a real community football club and Rumbalara is a great place to be around.’’

Cupido’s prodigious goal-kicking talents have earned him a big reputation from Victoria to the Northern Territory, where he has the record for the most majors in a Top End season.

And while he has kicked 80 goals this campaign, it is as a coach where Cupido has made his mark in the Goulburn Valley, having lifted Rumba from cellar-dwellers to minor premiers in his first year at the helm.

‘‘It has been challenging at times because nothing quite prepares you for it,’’ Cupido said.

‘‘Going through the experience of coaching is the way to develop that skillset, but I was also blessed in my AFL days to be coached by two of the best in Leigh Matthews and Kevin Sheedy.

‘‘I’ve definitely borrowed a bit of ‘Sheeds’ when it comes to discipline and hard work.’’

Cupido was joined at the announcement by his leadership group of Justin Terlich, Peter Hood, Jamie Atkinson, Blayne Briggs and Levi Power, who will all feature in Rumba’s second semi-final showdown with Finley at Congupna on Saturday.

Despite being the benchmarks of the league this year, the two clubs have only met once in round 11 where Finley registered a 10-point win in a low-scoring encounter.

‘‘We’re expecting a different game this time, that was a really scrappy contest and it was about minus two degrees that day,’’ Cupido said.

‘‘Finley is a well-balanced side that work hard for each other and benefit from an even spread when it comes to their goal-kickers.

‘‘It’s imperative we go about our business the same way we have approached the season.’’

Cupido confirmed Rumbalara was going to be virtually at full-strength, meaning former Collingwood and West Coast man Brad Dick and ex-Essendon defender Nathan Lovett-Murray will play.

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