FOR country-based soccer clubs such as Cootamundra and Junee the greatest challenge is in recruiting and retaining players.
However both clubs’ first grade teams made finals, and four of five Junee senior squads will play in grand finals on Sunday.
“It’s been hard to retain players with less people to pool from, but we’ve managed to draw players from Wagga and even Temora,” Junee club secretary April Mills said.
“People have been travelling back from Canberra and Newcastle [Scott Mutimer] to play for our team.”
Junee will lose two of its most revered players in 2016.
Lachlan Bushby announced he will retire next season in Thursday’s Daily Advertiser and his brother, Martin, 30, will follow suit.
“My body doesn’t recover like it used to,” he said.
He’s ending on a high, “we’ve put a good team together, and played well this season.”
The Bushby brothers aren’t the only players from Junee considering retirement, and a mass exodus could rock the club in 2016.
“They’ve got a couple of good young players, but it’s definitely a bit harder [to fill a team] being a small town,” Martin Bushby said.
Bushby’s decision to retire ironically helped the team to claim the minor premiership in 2015.
“At the end of last year I told my brother I’d have one more year, and that convinced him to play for Junee,” Bushby said.
Lachlan transferred from Tolland for one last hurrah and has delivered some stunning plays for Junee.
“We’re just hoping that all of the training and hard work they’ve put in this year’s going to pay off," Mills said.
If the women win, they will be celebrating not just for days, “for weeks.”
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