Old dogs bring club together
WHEN the Capella Cattledogs run out to take on Clermont Bushpigs this weekend in the Central Highlands competition, they can thank three men and a couple of beers for their very existence.
Twenty years ago Charlie Curran, Bill Kettle and Bill Haviland sat down with one common goal, to rediscover Capella’s rugby identity.
After years of fielding players with neighbouring clubs around the region, the three-man think tank decided to forge their own stamp in the competition with the town’s own team – the Capella Cattledogs.
To celebrate the club’s 20-year milestone, the Cattledogs will host a three-match program in Capella on Saturday afternoon followed by entertainment and no doubt many the tale to tell.
Winding back two decades, Cattledogs inaugural member Charlie Curran had been running with the Emerald club and had been yearning for something Capella residents could call their own.
“When we started we had six players playing for Emerald and four for Clermont,” Curran said.
“We got talking at the pub one afternoon and we started throwing a few ideas around and came up with the Cattledogs.
“The next season we ended up getting off the ground.”
Working from the ground up, the club was starting from scratch in all facets including its player-base.
“In the early days we had a lot of players who had never played any type of football before – a lot of them were blokes straight off the land,” Curran said.
Fellow inaugural member Bill Kettle recalled with affection that youth probably wasn’t one of the club’s strengths in the beginning.
“The first time we played, the age bracket certainly would have been up there,” he quipped.
“But everyone was pretty keen – that second and third year we started to pull blokes from all over the place.”
Kettle, who originally joined from the Clermont club, said back then it wasn’t uncommon for Capella players to run on for the union on Saturday, then back up for local league on the Sunday.
Inter-code double-headers were also organised, culminating in the Cattledogs first premiership in the mid-90s.
“It was huge, we would have had half the town there,” Kettle said.
Like many sporting clubs around the Highlands, they too have had their fair share of trials and tribulations with low player numbers running as a key theme.
“At various stages we struggled for numbers,” Curran said. “We ended up amalgamating with the Ag College at one stage.
“But in all my time playing with the club, I can say we never forfeited.”
The game, he said, offered so much more than just a game of weekend football.
“Rugby opens up a lot of doors for people in terms of jobs, friends…
“There have been many people who have given a lot to keep us going.”
4pm Emerald v Moranbah
5.30pm Cattledogs Old Boys v Golden Oldies
6pm Capella v Clermont