Candelo-Bemboka's first coach remembers early days

Eric Maddern (left) reminisces about the early days of the Candelo-Bemboka rugby club with John Green, who played for the Panthers, and Mickey Carpenter, who played for Bemboka.

Eric Maddern (left) reminisces about the early days of the Candelo-Bemboka rugby club with John Green, who played for the Panthers, and Mickey Carpenter, who played for Bemboka.

THE first coach of Candelo-Bemboka Panthers after it was united, Eric Maddern, shared some of his memories of the club’s early days.

He said before they joined forces, the two teams were not very friendly and fought against each other with strong rivalry before the two towns merged into one club in 1968.

“A lot of people said it would never work!” Mr Maddern said.

“But everything fell into place.”

He said events were helped by having a good committee, and the team members “just gelled”.

“Everyone got on extremely well together,” he said.

“Over the years we selected pretty good coaches.

“The club just went from strength to strength.”

The clubs days began to dwindle as the community in the two towns was not large, so membership suffered and as it was so small the club couldn’t raise enough money to keep going.

The Panthers reformed again this year with a reserve team however the committee is hoping to have a first grade team going for next year.

“It’s great to see these fellas play again,” Mr Maddern said.

“I think they’ll go from strength to strength if they keep their sponsorship up.”

In a match on Sunday the reformed Panthers beat the Tathra Sea Eagles 22-4 in a reserve grade match.

This game also marked the occasion of the Sea Eagles handing back the 'Bemboka to the Beach' football to the reformed club, which will be kept at Bemboka Hotel. 

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