Magpies utility Ben Davis attempts to break a tackle against the Gungahlin Bulls in 2019.

Having finished at the bottom of the Canberra Raiders Cup table in 2019 with only 2 wins, Magpies Coach Cam Hardy would have been hoping for a better year in 2020. The Magpies best win from last season was a 48-14 win against Gungahlin in April 2019 at Walker Park. However, the events of early 2020 would deal a cruel blow when all NSWRL games were shut down by March. Nevertheless, Hardy is decidedly upbeat about the Magpies’ prospects for the new season.

“We aren’t allowed to pay any players this year but I spoke to the boys and they all said they still wanted to play, I can’t wait to get back on the paddock”: Hardy said. President Greg Smith was involved in the on-line zoom meeting with the NSWRL when we spoke to Hardy but there will be some onerous impositions on the Magpies volunteers with the current covid requirements imposed by the Rugby League if and when play is allowed to continue. The proposed ”covid-marshals” will be particularly unpopular appointments. “It has been annoying because we were told to keep away from the players but we will likely have full contact training from July 18th which will be good”

Hardy added. “We do have David Barry back to play in 2020 and a new 5/8 from New Zealand in Inga Limoni, As well I have been keen to see young Ben Davis develop during the year”. Retention of local talent was high on the agenda for Cam Hardy and largely that has been achieved for the Magpies. Would the redevelopment of Walker Park be a problem in the coming season? “Not really, the old grid iron posts are gone and the council blokes have made a great job of the change rooms, they look really good” Hardy commented.

In spite of leaking 35 points per game in 2019, Hardy was still confident of moving the oldest club in the Canberra Region Rugby league up the ladder in 2020. “We will still have a Reserve Grade side, the League Tag and Women’s Tackle sides are locked and loaded but our Under 19’s are still a bit shaky”. In regional sport it is increasingly difficult to recruit young players and a number of clubs are unable to field Youth League sides. However, there will be much interest to see how the high flying clubs like the Queanbeyan Blues, Kangaroos and Goulburn.