The CVD Cobras under-12s rugby league team is not your usual premiership winning side. They are one big happy family.
In some ways that is literally true with three sets of brothers in the team.
But the family aspect is more about the attitude around the team.
They play for each other to have fun. Winning – like their 14-4 win against Rouse Hill in the under-12 division two grand final – is a bonus.
Pizza nights and parent-child touch footy games are just as important as tackling drills and fitness.
“Once we took all the pressure off them, they played better,” coach Tarik Yalcinkaya said.
“As much as everyone loves to win, it’s more important to have fun. Our main goal was to make sure the kids enjoyed the game and keep morale high win, lose or draw.”
Yalcinkaya took over coaching the team in round three with the team in second last.
After winning the division three competition last year, the team was struggling in one main area: defence.
“So we did no ball work. I kept telling the kids if they kept the other team away from our red zone the points will come,” he said.
“The kids didn’t give up and kept pushing and responded to training.”
They had their ups and downs along the way much like when the team started out four years ago with only eight players and not knowing until the final minutes before each game whether or not they had enough kids to field a team.
This year injuries meant they had to forfeit a couple of games due to a lack of numbers.
But they never stopped trying – or having fun. A last second win against Winston Hills in the semi final meant they qualified for the grand final where the CVD Cobras – a sub club of Cabra-Vale Diggers – prevailed in a tight contest.
As a testament to the character of the team, the team presented the team’s only female player Alai'yah Williams flowers after the game in what is her final year with the boys.
The season isn’t over for the team with the Cobras entered into a knockout on Saturday.
Next year the team will play in division one. Win, lose or draw, there is one thing that is certain.
“We will enjoy the game and make sure everyone is having fun. We are looking forward tot he challenge,” Yalcinkaya said.
- The team is currently looking for a sponsor for next year. If you can help contact Ali Gonzalez on 0401 486 611.