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Johnston to lead new rugby club

The newly formed Shepparton Rugby Club has taken the next step of its development by appointing Warren Johnston as senior coach.

HANNAH DRISCOLL November 21, 2012 4:10am

The newly formed Shepparton Rugby Club has taken the next step of its development by appointing Warren Johnston as senior coach.

Shepparton will enter Victorian Rugby Union’s senior country grade with the competition scheduled to begin in autumn.

Johnston will oversee the planned A and B senior sides and the club is also looking to develop a junior side (about 15 years old) which is to be coached Lawrence Horn.

Johnston said Shepparton would play against teams from Puckapunyal, Border Army from Albury, Deniliquin, Bendigo and possibly a team from northern Melbourne.

Johnston, 44, started his own playing career with Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, before heading to England to play for Richmond for three years in the 1980s.

He returned to New Zealand to join the police and later transferred to the Queensland police and played for Brothers Club Brisbane.

He has lived in Shepparton for eight years and has been manager of Notre Dame’s under-16 football team the past two years.

This will be the first time Johnston has coached and he said he was ‘‘apprehensive, but fairly excited about it’’.

‘‘I love rugby, it’s been a part of my life for forever and I feel that Shepparton could do with a club,’’ Johnston said.

‘‘There is a lot of players who want to play and I think it’s a great thing for Shepparton sport.’’

Johnston said the committee had gone from nothing to having a major sponsor and about 20 other sponsors from the community in about the past six weeks.

He said player numbers were looking healthy and the club was holding a player meeting today at McEwen Reserve at 7.30pm so potential players could get more information or register their interest.

Johnston said the club’s home ground and clubrooms would be at Vibert Reserve and the players would vote on the team’s name and guernsey colours in the coming weeks.

Training will begin almost immediately with a fitness test on Saturday afternoon at Vibert Reserve.

‘‘We’re going to start the club with a solid foundation and be professional and we’re going to be very disciplined,’’ Johnston said.

‘‘It’s going to be run in a manner similar to a GVFL team because we admire the legacy that those guys have at their clubs.’’

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