Gunnedah cricket: Kookaburras endure rebuilding period

HARD YARDS: Kookaburras captain Shane Riordan says the side is going through a transitional period. Photo: Ben Jaffrey
HARD YARDS: Kookaburras captain Shane Riordan says the side is going through a transitional period. Photo: Ben Jaffrey

Kookaburras captain Shane Riordan has been around the game long enough – suckling on the highs and surviving the lows – to be realistic about his side’s chances this season.

A “rebuilding” period is how Riordan describes Kookaburras’ current circumstance, after the side leaked players at the end of last season and promoted lower grade players to fill the void.

Three seasons after winning their last premiership in 2013-14 against Albion to secure back-to-back titles, Riordan suspects that the Kookaburras are in for a torrid time.

“If we win a couple of games it will be a good year,” he said, adding: “I might be wrong. We might win a couple more than that. I don’t know. It depends on how our batting picks up.”

Raised on a farm about 40 kilometres from Gunnedah, Riordan, 51, has operated as a chiropractor in the town for almost 30 years.

He started playing for Kookaburras as as a “16 or 17-year-old”, when they were called the RSL Cricket Club.

He made his first-grade debut in the early 1980s, and there the allrounder has remained.

He has helped steer the side through previous rebuilding efforts, recalling a period in the 1990s as a time when the club also “copped it pretty hard”.

As Kookaburras, winless over the opening two rounds this season, prepare to face fellow winless side Mornington at Wolseley Park in a one-dayer on Saturday, Riordan highlighted the need for the side’s new players to display greater consistency.

“There’s not much you can do about it [the player losses],” he said. “I’ll just try and bring them [the new players] along.

“That’s the main brief – to get these kids to improve and understand how to play first grade and things like that.

“Consistency [is the biggest requirement]. They do a couple of good bowls and then a shocker.

“They got away with that in second and third grades. They won’t get away with that in first grade.”

In the other game on Saturday, Court House and Albion meet at Kitchener Park.