Forbes Magpies' coach Cameron Greenhalgh sets his sights on 2022

Retirement? That's a yeah ... nah for Magpies and Western rugby league coach Cameron Greenhalg who's set his sights on recruitment for Forbes for the new 2022 Western Premiership.
Retirement? That's a yeah ... nah for Magpies and Western rugby league coach Cameron Greenhalg who's set his sights on recruitment for Forbes for the new 2022 Western Premiership.

Cameron Greenhalgh concedes he might have had a change of heart on that little notion of retirement that was mentioned at the start of this season.

The veteran Magpies and Western coach was understood to be considering 2021 his final season with the local club, but he's this week confirmed he's keen to be part of it all again in the new year.

In fact, his phone's running hot in lockdown and he's already firming up what the Magpies squad might look like in a restructured rugby league competition in our region.

The competitive fires have been lit for both coach and players on the back of a season where they secured just two wins and a draw from 12 rounds.

Despite the disappointment of the first grade side finishing outside the top five, with finals still uncertain due to COVID-19, Greenhalgh has had time to reflect on the good that's come of the 2021 season for Forbes Rugby League Club.

"There's a lot we've achieved this year," Greenhalgh said, adding he's learned a lot too.

By the end of the year the Magpies squad was missing some key senior players they'd started with and some, like Mitch Andrews, struggled with injury.

But that saw younger players step up to the senior squad and by the penultimate round they started to realise they were up to the task.

And one of the keys for the coach is that they're a happy crew, and they'll be keen to get back into footy on the other side of lockdown.

He's also begun the serious business of recruitment for next year with a view to the new Western Premiership structure.

The plans include at least four crossover rounds between Group 11 and Group 10 through the year and a finals series that involves the top four teams from each conference.

"Recruitment is going to be important," Greenhalgh acknowledged.

"We've still got the core group here.

"There's a bit of interest in 2022, we've set the wheels in motion and in the next week or so we hope to have some signings."

As for the 2021 finals, with Forbes' 18s and league tag sides in the mix, Greenhalgh acknowledges it's looking less and less likely - and for all the reasons cited by Central West Rugby Union and other codes that have cancelled.

"They've already had a month without footy, they'd have to get back into training for a few weeks, and then you see (in media) that places like Dubbo and Wellington can't hold the finals," he said.

"At time's like this football's probably not a priority unfortunately.

"You have those years with the asterix against them and this might end up being amongst them."

Group 11 president Bob Walsh says he continues to hold out hope.

The extension of the lockdown for much of the region doesn't bode well for Group 11 but Walsh said as long as there's any type of chance he won't call for the season to be cancelled.

"We'd have to see a great reduction in [case] numbers and if they stay the way they are we've got no chance," Walsh said after the Western NSW Local Health District (LHD) recorded another 24 new cases.

Organisers would be willing to run Group 11 to the first weekend of November.

"We'll wait and it's no use calling it off and then saying 'we could have played'," Walsh added.

The grand final was to be September 12.