President’s Message

After a wet 2022 season, it was great having the sun shining and minimal games lost due to poor weather, and the kids just loved it.
Season 2023 was another strong season for the Cougars, fielding 20 teams across boys and girls, tackle and TAG. With the season starting early with a good pre-season, all the teams were looking first class. We loved the addition of the U10 TAG girls with their level of energy and watching the U6s running around, I think at times the parents enjoyed it even more. It was amazing to see how many of our younger players showed up on a Saturday to cheer on our Open Mens team, there were certainly big hits in those games.
This year the Grand Final was split over two weekends. First up our U12 TAG Girls got a chance to run out onto Leicharddt Oval, unfortunately they just fell short of a victory. Leading the majority of the game they were run down 26-28 in an awesome display of TAG. The disappointment showed and we hope the girls will be back in 2024 to give it another crack.
The U9s played their Grand Final the following week and what a game it was! Their dominance throughout the game was evident finishing with the win and going the whole season undefeated which is an amazing achievement. Their attacking brilliance saw amazing tries being scored but it was always going to come down to defence and the boys just kept tackling everything that ran at them. They won 28-22 and a well-deserved Player of the Match Charbel Samaha scoring two great tries in the first half that laid the platform for the victory.
The club is blessed with an amazing Committee. The amount of work that goes into making this club tick never ceases to amaze me and I would like to take a moment in thanking everyone on the Committee. Special thanks to those who have been involved over the last few years and will be moving on in 2024. It’s amazing watching this committee pull together to make things happen, home game rosters, meetings with Council, making sure the canteen is stocked and ready to fire, helping with field set up on game day and every player in a uniform that fits.
We are always looking for new people to join and we love hearing ideas from everyone. So, if you are ever free and would like to get involved, please reach out, come along to a meeting as we would love to see you. Please don’t be scared as it’s a great way of giving back to the community.
A special thanks goes to Ryde Eastwood Leagues Club for their continued support of the Cougars and Junior Sport. If it wasn’t for their support, we wouldn’t be able to give so much back to the kids and registration fees would be a lot higher.
For season 2023 the Cougars fielded 20 teams that’s over 300 players, 7 of these teams were the girls TAG teams bringing 100 girls to the club. In 2024 the Cougars are pushing for our first ever girls tackle team, and we need everyone’s help in driving this to make it a reality.
A special thank you to all of the amazing Sponsors we have, big or small we thank all of you and your investment allowing us to give so much back to the kids and the community. I encourage all of you to look up these Sponsors and visit them where possible and thank them for investing in the Cougars.
To all the Coaches, Managers & Trainers, thank you for looking after the kids, teaching and developing their skills for this great game. Sometimes you may think it’s a thankless job but your time and patience is loved by the players and parents. Never stop doing what you do, every coach is a special person, you may not know it now but these kids do look up to you.
I would also like to thank all the volunteers who came down early on a Sunday morning to assist with setting up the fields, the canteen and jumping on the BBQ to turn some sausages. To the ones who pick up the rubbish, sort out the recycling, hold a tackle bag at training and fill up the water bottles. Along with those who help run the ground on a Saturday and Sunday and to the volunteer who just checks in to make sure everyone is okay and all is running smoothly.
A junior sporting club doesn’t run without a strong committee and a good group of volunteers. Never be frightened to offer a hand, I love walking into the canteen on a Friday night and seeing Mums and Dads in there helping clean and sort things out and getting things ready for the Cougar Café or the weekend ahead, always remember more hands make less work.
Make sure you all take the time to thank the Referees at the end of a game and again this season the Cougars were the driving force in recruitment. Just remember without referees we don’t have a game; they are trying to do their best and don’t deserve abuse.
There are so many people I need to thank, and they know who they are. I thank them all for their patience and time. Each year I am blessed with some amazing moments but the one I love the most is seeing the kids out on the field and listening to each team sing at the end of their game. It gives me great pride when I see players and parents alike adorning the Cougars strip be it on holidays, school events or on social media. It’s great to see that all year round.
As we now shut the door on season 2023 and planning commences for 2024, thank you to everyone for your involvement. I look forward to seeing you at the AGM in a few weeks time and I hope you all enjoy the Christmas break. Make sure you have a great off season and I hope we get to see you all back and ready to fire in Season 2024.
Make sure you sing it loud and be very proud, go the COUGARS!
Damien Mackey
(Club President)