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No go . . . The Matakanui Combined rugby jersey will not be seen on the field in this season's senior grade after the team had to withdraw due to a lack of players. PHOTO: ALLIED PRESS FILES

ALEXIA.JOHNSTON

@alliedpress.co.nz

Matakanui Combined Rugby Football Club still has a future, despite not fielding a senior team this season.

That was the message given to about 35 people who attended a meeting in Omakau last week to discuss the club’s outlook.

The catalyst for the meeting came after the club’s senior team withdrew from the competition just weeks into the season, due to a lack of players.

Injuries were among the reasons players could no longer play.

Club president Andrew Paterson said last week’s meeting was encouraging.

“There were a lot of good ideas and some general direction of where we all need to go. It was all pretty positive.”

Paterson said the decision to pull the senior team from the competition was upsetting for the club, but members had remained positive.

Options on how the club could attract and retain players in the future were discussed at the meeting.

“We really got into discussing some of the different options that we have going forward and got some guidance and direction,” he said.

“We formed a small committee . and we are now going to be looking for a coach/rugby development person with the idea that our focus is to put a Matakanui team on the field for next season.”

He said the club would start investigating ways to attract potential players.

Otago Country Rugby and Central Otago Council of Clubs would be approached on how they might be able to assist, he said.

“There were some mixed concerns expressed about the number of players that aren’t playing rugby and some of that is because there is no team or grade between premier and 1st XV level.

“So, [at] the next council of club’s meeting, we want to discuss potential challenges in the format, to allow a second tier that these guys could play into. If that’s the case, they might help us with the ability to find enough players to form a team next year.”

Paterson was pleased with the discussion that came out of the meeting.

“Everyone wants to be involved and everyone wants to help.”

Otago Country Rugby chairman Bob Perriam was among those keen to get a second-tier competition established.

“We’ve been promoting the concept of a second tier competition now for two years.

“It nearly got off the ground this year, but didn’t have the support from the clubs. We feel very strongly [that] we will get this up and running in the near future. All we need to do is get the teams to say they want to do it and we’ll make it happen.”

Another meeting to discuss the Matakanui Combined club will be held at the clubrooms in Omakau on June 5 at 7.30pm.

The aim of that meeting will be to discuss information and ideas gathered between now and then.