Atherton Roosters manager Graham Clark’s warning to players

Atherton’s hopes of repeating his impressive run to the FNQRL-A Finals could be in tatters before a ball is kicked as player numbers and commitment threaten to sideline the proud club.

ATHERTON’s hopes of repeating their impressive run to the FNQ Rugby League A Final could be in tatters before a ball is kicked as player commitment threatens to sideline the proud club.

The Roosters reached the finals last year in a season where they promised much but were plagued by injuries and eventually wiped out.

The club’s under-18s won the Premiership, with several teenagers getting regular senior time to ease their transition to the senior team.

Much of this was thanks to the work of coach Graham Clark Snr, who has used his few years at the club to fulfill the club’s dream ideal of filling its top-flight side with local talent.

But the loss of several players to retirements, injuries, out-of-region training and conceding rival clubs leaves the Roosters in deep distress.

And Clark may not be there to see it, making it clear his future with the club depends on the commitment of the players.

“If we don’t have a competitive team, I’m not sure of my position,” Clark said.

“I don’t want to work with a team that doesn’t want to compete, that doesn’t want to be committed.

“It’s a fair effort for me to travel to and from the club three times a week and if they’re not engaged they’re wasting everyone’s time.”

The Roosters are buzzing off the pitch with plenty of support for a club that has represented Atherton for more than a century.

But a lack of volunteers and commitment from players could dashed their hopes of fielding three men’s teams this year.

Clark doesn’t shoot those who have that commitment, nor those who have given years to the club. But there’s a disruption preventing Atherton from achieving his goals.

“People are starting businesses, some have given the club eight to 10 years and it’s not a chance for them at all,” he said.

“It’s the younger generation, there are a lot of people who take for granted what people do and have done for the club.”

Clark loves coaching. He has given the club many years and is in the midst of a multi-year project developing some top-flight footballers.

But he only wants to lead the team when they want to play and wear the jersey with pride.

And he has urged the club to pull themselves together before it’s too late.

“The club must clarify in which direction it goes,” he said. “We had our agenda of wanting a team made up of local players.

“But the reality is that the kids we put through the class have been successful and for one reason or another don’t stay and play.

“We need more people who also go on stage off the field.”

Atherton will celebrate the 30th anniversary of their 1993 Premiership side over the weekend of May 26-28.

The side became the first to win a title after the club entered Cairns competition.

The Roosters are scheduled to start their season at home against the defending champions Brothers on March 25.

Originally released as a warning to players by Atherton Roosters manager Graham Clark Atherton Roosters manager Graham Clark’s warning to players

Chris Estrada

Chris Estrada is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Chris Estrada joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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