Rugby coach position vacant
TONY Schefe’s four-year tenure with the Bundaberg 47th Battalion rugby league team will come to an end this season.
The former Sydney coach informed Bundaberg Rugby League (BRL) president Mal Breen last week he would not re-apply for the top job.
His departure leaves the door ajar for a fresh face while players like Matt Tanner ponder who they will train under.
A Toowoomba side is already in training and, along with the Sunshine Coast, will be the frontrunners when the revamped 47th Battalion hits Salter Oval in May.
The nine-team competition also includes South Burnett, Roma, South Queensland, Rockhampton, Gladstone and Central Highlands in a first since the competition was formed in 1971.
The top two sides will progress in the competition and the Queensland 47th Battalion final will be played as a curtain-raiser to the Lang Park State of Origin this year.
Schefe said he was excited about the new format but that his time, at least for this year, was up.
“I can spend a bit more time on myself now,” he said.
“I’ve had four good years, and we’ve managed to beat Sunshine Coast once, but it’s time to give someone else a crack.”
Schefe rated his 2009 side as the most talented, lamenting the fact they were not able to topple the strong Coast team at full strength.
“We had the talent and the depth last year but just weren’t up to it,” he said.
“Whoever does take over needs to have players putting their hand up to play. They need the right attitude.”
Now the burning question is: Who will fill Schefe’s big boots?
The BRL will accept nominations up until February 18, and there are many worthy contenders.
Former New Zealand international Sean Hoppe has been one name to pop up.
Hoppe was unavailable for comment yesterday, but Schefe endorsed the Bundaberg convert.
“He’s a great asset. He’d be terrific in the role. There are plenty of candidates, really – it’s just a matter of who wants to put in the extra time and effort,” he said.
BRL secretary Terry Dodd urged all those interested to apply immediately.
“We’re dead serious about this. We want to get the campaign off and running and give the side their best chance of performing well on their home soil,” he said.
“The Coast and Toowoomba are going to be very strong but there’s no reason we can’t match them.”
A Queensland Rangers team will also play New South Wales Country in July to complete a bumper year of footy in Bundaberg.