Friday, March 9, 2012

NSWRL: Against all odds

Some of you may recall that there was an American Football movie released back in the year 2000 called ‘The Replacements’.
It starred Keanu Reeves as Shane Falco, a down on his luck Quarterback who is tasked with leading the Washington Sentinels, a team of replacement players coached by Jimmy McGinty, played by the legendary Gene Hackman.
McGinty recruits many different ragtag players, and eventually convinces Falco to return from the wilderness to play quarterback.
Fast forward to 2012 and if you look in our very own backyard, one could draw some stark comparisons between the Sentinels of ‘The Replacements’ fame and our very own Western Suburbs Magpies who are being challenged with defying the odds, just to be competitive in the 2012 VB NSW Cup.
And the man given the job of taking on that task is newly appointed Wests coach Trevor Schodel.
He has the post of bringing together a largely unheralded list of players and turning them into a competitive Rugby League outfit, and although Schodel accepts there is a challenge that lies in front of this foundation club, he is certain that they are ready to tackle it head on.
“I’m very excited and I am very much looking forward to the season. I know it is going to be a challenge but I am ready to take the job on,” Schodel said.
“We are a unique side in the VB NSW Cup, every club in this competition bar us have players that have to play for them.
“For instance if you have been signed by Penrith, you have to play for Windsor, or if you have been signed by the Wests Tigers you have to play for Balmain. With our squad they (the players) want to play for us, and that’s the big difference for me.”
Schodel is also very cognisant that the experts will be quick to write his side off week in and week out but this is of no concern to him and his troops, in fact those kinds of comments will only fuel the fire that burns deeply within this proud club.
“Most of the guys in this squad have been told either ‘you’re not good enough’ or ‘you can’t make it’ and they will have a point to prove, not only to themselves but to everyone.
“We are going to be a side that faces challenges, no doubt, but if you don’t have a challenge, be it in footy or in life then what do you have?”
Schodel also went on to point out that despite the potential hurdles the club faces in terms of resources, personnel etc, that they had set some goals for themselves in 2012, and while those goals would remain in-house he was prepared to tell the Magpies faithful this much.
“I’m not going to make any big predictions but at the same time, I can tell you that after you have played a game of footy against the Western Suburbs you will know you have been in a game of football.”
Playing the role of Shane Falco in this 2012 remake of ‘The Replacements’ is the new Magpies captain, Nigel Millgate.
Millgate epitomises the Magpies perfectly. A more than capable player who has been bounced around from club to club in search of his big break.
This search has seen him play for fellow VB NSW Cup sides in Cronulla and Newtown in the past, and has even taken him to the bright lights of New York City where he played for the New York Knights in the AMNRL, where he was lucky enough to win a Championship and claim an MVP title.
But a desire to return home sees him plying his trade with the Magpies in 2012.
And much like his coach, Millgate understands the challenge that lies ahead and despite bearing the responsibility of having to lead the side around the park while wearing the ‘C’ on his chest, he is ready to step up to the plate.
“It is a privilege to captain any side let alone a great foundation club like the Magpies,” Millgate said.
“But in the end of the day I’m just a typical little number seven and I like to get in there and get amongst it, but I will lead the boys around the park and you will certainly hear me out there.”
The Western Suburbs Magpies are one of the VB NSW Cups’ great traditional sides and rely on the support of the Black & White faithful each and every week.
And while the Magpies may well have their backs to the wall in 2012 you get the sense after talking to both Schodel and Millgate that they wouldn’t want to have it any other way.
For the record the Magpies, much like the Washington Sentinels from ‘The Replacements’ fame, went down in their first game, losing to the Sea Eagles 46-8 on the weekend.
To see if they can bounce back in Round Two, head out to Ringrose Park this Sunday afternoon at 3pm to cheer them on as they clash with fellow feathered friends in the Wentworthville Magpies.
7/03/2012 2:29:25 PM

No comments: