MUSWELLBROOK Rams president Kurt Dial is one proud man.
And, he’ll be even happier if his beloved BHP Billiton Hunter Valley Group 21 Rugby League club can taste success in three grades at Olympic Park this weekend.
You see, Dial’s affiliation with the organisation began at an early age – and that passion shows no signs of abating.
“My dad [Jeff] was the Muswellbrook captain-coach in 1979.
“I arrived two years later, so I was virtually born into the Rams’ fold,” he added with a laugh.
“Due to my father’s ongoing involvement [with the club], I did all the tasks like ball boy, sand boy and even helped with the scoreboard in the old days.
“I then played junior footy from the under-7s to under-18s, and won a few competitions, too.”
Dial made his first grade debut, at 16, in 1998.
Ironically, his captain-coach was a bloke named Steve Haylen, the same guy guiding the Rams – along with Gary “Bomber” Jones – this season.
“They’ve done a great job with the side,” he said.
“As have, Mick and John Deakin (reserves), Paul Benkovic (under-18s) and Hayden Fox (league tag).
“One of the terrific things about the club [at the moment] is that people want to put their hands up and help out, like Chris and Jane Dengate to name a couple.
“So, it’s nice to see their collective efforts being rewarded.”
After more than 200 games for the Rams, including 150 in the top grade, and four premierships (two under-18, two firsts – 2002, 2004), Dial now heads a hard-working committee, which dreams of further glory.
“I just love football – and this club,” he said.
“I’m actually still mates with guys from the under-7s.
“We’re one big family.
“It’s funny, I firmly believe it takes the stress away from normal life.
“The Rams had a few lean years but, after talking with Kurt Stallworthy and Heath Collins, it was time to return.
“That’s made it more rewarding, working together with friends.
“I think it’s a massive reason why the club is so strong – the mateship and camaraderie.
“So, on Saturday afternoon, it would be great to sit back, have a few beers and, hopefully, celebrate three wins.”