Byatt named Albury Thunder coach

Robbie Byatt pictured in his playing days for Tumbarumba.

Tumbarumba rugby league junior Robbie Byatt has been appointed captain coach of the Albury Thunder for the 2022 season.

Byatt, 31, applied for the job when previous coach Adrian Purtell called it a day.

“I was hopeful I’d get it, although a couple of people went for it,” he said.

Byatt has wanted to get back into coaching since he coached the Tumbarumba Greens in Group 9 in 2016 and 2017.

“That was really good and I’ve been looking for the opportunity to get into it,” he said.

He said the perspective of a captain-coach and non-playing coach varies.

“Sometimes you can see things better on the field, and sometimes better off it,” he said.

The Thunder start training again on November 16, and Byatt said they will be without two or three players from the 2021 season.

“A couple of players are heading up the coast, so we are looking to sign a few players soon, and we have some local fellas coming through,” he said.

The Thunder had a season of mixed fortunes this year and Byatt will be looking for more consistency in 2022.

“It was up and down this year; so hopefully we’ll do a lot better,” he said.

“We lost a lot of close games; and it is a matter of staying with teams. We had a young team this year and we need some older heads to go with the young fellas. A couple of our players were just coming into first grade, and they got a lot of experience out of it.”

Byatt’s brother Sean was recently named Group 9 referee of the year, and he knows he won’t get any favours from him when he referees the Thunder.

“He definitely doesn’t give you anything,” he said.

His other brother Matt plays for the Tumut Blues, and the two of them used to line up for the Tumbarumba Greens. He would like to see the Greens back in Group 9 one day, but concedes that’s unlikely to happen. 

“Once you go it’s too hard to get back in, unless you have a big influx of people into the town,” he said.