Cougars board sacks Schodel after string of losses


Corrimal coach Trevor Schodel with Keith Brennan, Casey Burgess and Tupou Teaupa.

Corrimal coach Trevor Schodel with Keith Brennan, Casey Burgess and Tupou Teaupa.

RUGBY LEAGUE

Corrimal are on the hunt for a new coach after their winless start to the season claimed the first casualty on Sunday, when the Cougars board sacked coach Trevor Schodel. 

The decision at an extraordinary meeting on Sunday night followed a 46-12 loss to competition heavyweights Wests at Ziems Park on Saturday that left the Cougars at 0-5 for the season.

It was Schodel’s second year in charge after the Cougars managed just one win for the 2013 season,  and it  was hoped that an agreement that saw surplus players from the Illawarra Cutters and Dragons NYC squads link with the club could revive the Cougars fortunes.

The plan was yet to bear fruit with Corrimal conceding over 200 points in five losses, which  led the board to reconsider the head coaching position. 

Schodel said he was disappointed by the decision just five games into the season after overseeing a long preseason in which he recruited several new players in a quest to rebuild the club.

‘‘I’m very disappointed, but if the board and executive committee want to go down another avenue, so be it,’’ Schodel said.

‘‘I’m disappointed after all the time and effort I put in to try and make the side competitive.’’

Schodel said he never lost the confidence of his players.

‘‘I had contact from all the players last night [Sunday] shocked at what had happened and unhappy with the decision.

‘‘If I didn’t have the support of the players I’d be more upset.

‘‘I’ll still support the players that have supported me, and while I’m disappointed I hope they do go well for the rest of the season.’’

It was unclear  who would lead the Cougars in their match with defending premiers Collegians at Ziems Park on Saturday ahead of another tough clash with 2013 grand-finalists Helensburgh the following week.

The instability will inevitably provide further headaches for the Illawarra Coal League board after the off-season departure of Shellharbour to Group Seven and Berkeley’s withdrawal from the top grade reduced the competition to just six teams for the first time in over 50 years.

The Cougars are the only club in the league currently fielding sides in all five grades (first grade, reserve grade, colts, women’s and Illawarra Coal Shield) but their ongoing struggles at the top level are an obvious concern for the board as it looks to return the Illawarra’s premier rugby league competition to a more tenable eight teams.

Corrimal president Dave Adams could not be reached for comment on Monday.

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