INSTEAD of lamenting their shortcomings in the 2019 Bengalla Hunter Valley Group 21 Rugby League season, the Muswellbrook Rams will embrace it.
That's the message from incoming president Kurt Dial, who returns to the position after a 12-month hiatus.
While the club failed to field a first grade side this year, the Rams still managed to secure semi-final berths in reserves, under-18s and league tag.
"That was a major positive - having three teams in the play-offs," Dial said.
"And, I think [former president] Stephen Lamb did a terrific job in a hard situation.
"So, the new committee is keen to build on what he achieved.
"I'll admit, it was extremely disappointing we didn't contest the top division.
"I understand that's the only time it's occurred in Rams' history.
"But, when the executive withdrew the side, it was definitely duty of care.
"If that team had played first grade, it might have folded after a couple of weeks."
Dial - along with Kurt Stallworthy (secretary), Stephen Lamb (treasurer), Mick Deakin (senior vice-president) and Howard Lovegrove (junior vice-president) - is adamant the situation won't happen again.
"We're already in the process of turning things around," he said.
"We've signed on Marcus Bower and John Deakin as our senior co-coaches, as well as the guys in the 2019 reserves' squad.
"A number of former first graders are returning to the club, while we're also speaking to a few players from Newcastle.
"However, our main aim is to look after our juniors and entice those who left the Rams to come back to the fold."
Although he wasn't involved in the process, Dial said the appointment of Bower and Deakin was a "good decision".
"Marcus has been in town about eight years and John's a Muswellbrook local," he told the Chronicle.
"I believe they will be a key ingredient to our success in 2020.
"We're certainly all on the same page.
"Marcus and John will complement each other.
"They're well-respected in the club, too.
"Our objective is for all four sides to reach the semis - then we'll reassess that goal afterwards."
After the Rams appeared in two consecutive grand finals (2016-2017), and a spot in the 2018 play-offs, Dial took a well-earned break from the organisation.
But, he remained involved in the code - and Group 21.
Now, he's determined to help Muswellbrook reassert its dominance in the competition.
"I just love the club," Dial said.
"And, we've got a good committee on board.
"Howard [Lovegrove] is a fresh face, although he's known around the organisation.
"He's also had a bit to do with Coolah [rugby league club] in the past.
"It's great to have Stephen [Lamb] stick around as well.
"I thought he was doing the right thing for the Rams when we pulled out of first grade.
"Everyone's excited by what lies ahead.
"We'll have a couple of get-togethers before Christmas, then training will start in the new year."
Anyone interested in joining the Rams can contact the club via Facebook or Kurt Dial on 0400 014 319.
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