The Cootamundra Tri-Colours recently held their Annual General Meeting (AGM) at The Albion, electing an executive and new-look general committee. Wayne Berkrey, who was re-elected to his third term as President, touched on the support shown to his son, Matt Berkrey, by the Cootamundra Tri-Colours and wider rugby community as to the main reason he stayed on board.

Matt was involved in an accident, which left him with severe burns to most of his legs and forearms, and local clubs rallied to support his fundraiser. In all honestly, just the support shown by the rugby community was mind-blowing,” Berkrey said. “I’ve always been a league bloke, and I was president of the Coota juniors for nine years and the seniors for three years, but with the support from all the clubs and everyone, I felt obliged to stay around and do it again.” Berkrey oversaw Cootamundra’s sensational 2022 season, where the Tri-Colours men went through the regular season undefeated before going down to the Young Yabbies in the Grand Final.

This season, Cootamundra were left to rue what might have been, with their men missing the South West Cup finals on the back of what appeared to be an endless run of injuries. “In all honestly, injuries absolutely cruelled us last season, and you can’t help that when it happens,” Berkrey said. “Next season, with new coaches on board, we want everyone there training hard and playing hard, and if they do that, they’ll make the semis. “This year, the coaches were sensational, but looking ahead to next, most of the boys will be getting back, and if they are committed, I think we are a top-two team.” The Tri-Colours women did well in 2023, making it one game from the Grand Final in their first year back in the competition since 2019. Still, with the Harden Red Devils pushing hard for a women’s rugby renaissance in 2024, it will put pressure on Cootamundra to produce a team.

Berkrey remained cautiously optimistic that they’ll attract the players. “In all honestly, it’s about 60/40 we get a team,” Berkrey said. “We’ll lose those five Harden girls if they get a team, so it’s certainly not guaranteed, but hopefully, the new coaches are in contact with last year’s players and the High School to see if any from that age group are suitable to play.” Off the paddock, Berkrey is hoping the club can finally pay off their clubhouse, which has about $34,000 owning. “That’s the one main goal, to get the complex paid off,” Berkrey said. A new-look committee will be getting to work so they can build on a good 2023 season, which saw a lot of major social events, and Berkrey was pleased to see many more players getting involved behind the scenes. “We’ve got seven players on the committee, which is great,” Berkrey said. “Instead of the club just being run by old fellas and a few ladies, we wanted our club to be back to having heavy player involvement. “I believe we are the only club in the group where the President is not a player, but we got a lot of the boys and two girls on board, and that will make a massive difference heading into next season.

In more exciting news, the Cootamundra Tri-Colours have also announced their coaches for 2024. Matt Berkrey and Phil Gay will co-coach the men’s side, and Jack Hogan and Laura Miller will be taking over as coaches of the women’s team. Readers can check out our upcoming editions of the Cootamundra Times for more on these appointments and what’s in store for the Tri-Colours. Cootamundra Tricolours 2024 committee President: Wayne Berkrey. Vice Presidents: Chris Cameron, Jack Hogan. Junior Vice President: Paul Wallace. Secretary: Rod Chalmers. Treasurer: Rod Chalmers. Canteen: Robyn Armstrong. Licensee: Robyn Armstrong. Facility Manager: Robyn Armstrong. Player’s Rep: Dylan Benfield. Events Coordinators: Briana Fritsch and Georgie Heggarton. Website: Jack Hogan. Facility Maintenance: Mark Ward. General committee: Roger Miller, Brad Morton, Greg Morton, Terese Baldwin, Brad Jones, Steve Hardie, Dave Tozer, and Charlie Willis.