Arounds the grounds with steve tervet - crfnc's comeback!

Our new on the ground man, Steve Tervet, is debuting his first article with the SS&A Ovens & Murray FNL, as he delves into how Corowa-Rutherglen FNC have worked to bring their proud club back into O&M contention in 2024! Here it is! 

If scepticism was an Olympic sport, those questioning Corowa-Rutherglen’s ability to return from the wilderness as a fully-fledged entity in the Ovens and Murray would have hit the qualifying standard several times over the past 12 months. 

The ‘will they or won’t they?’ debate has been played on a seemingly endless loop ever since Roos members voted to withdraw the club’s senior sides from season 2023. 

But, bucking the trend of country clubs who go into recess never to be seen again, Corowa-Rutherglen finally answer that question with an emphatic ‘yes’ by taking the field and the court against Albury at John Foord Oval this weekend. 

Not that the road back has been a smooth one.

“The club was honest with me,” senior coach Steve Owen said of the situation facing him after being appointed to succeed Peter German in December 2022. 

“I asked them to lay it to me and, truthfully, we had six signed. That was the week before Christmas so it was pretty dire. 

“Unfortunately we didn’t get up for last season but as soon as the members voted that we wanted to stay in the Ovens and Murray, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.” 

Remaining competitive in the OMFNL is already a challenge if you’re building from a stable base, never mind starting from scratch, so why attempt to scale Everest? 

“We need to have a pathway for our local juniors,” Owen said. 

“If we don’t provide them with an opportunity to play at the highest level, they’re automatically going to go down to the Wangaratta clubs or the Albury clubs. 

“Country towns need their footy and I think the town probably realised that last year, how big a role sporting clubs do play in the community. 

“The most common question I got asked when I came over here last year was ‘are we going to get back? 

“Corowa needs the footy-netball club. 

“If you ever come across here at 12.30 on a Saturday, trying to get lunch or a coffee and the town’s shutting up because everyone’s walking down, I think that just shows what the footy club means to the town. 

“It’s the heart and soul of it and I think this is going to be fantastic for the whole community.” 

Owen admitted last year was the hardest of his football career, even without coaching a single game, but relief at finally sending his first Roos side onto the field doesn’t equate to mission accomplished. 

“Of course Round 1 is one of our goals,” Owen said. “We set that one early last year, to make sure we were fielding sides. 

“But we’re not just going to say ‘righto, we’re back,’ we’re still expecting to win games and push sides. 

“We’re not going to put a limit on what we can do but we’ve got internal goals that we’re going to try to tick off all the way and build for 2025 as well. 

“This isn’t just a flash in the pan or a one-year rebuild.”