Bombala first grade captain-coach Joe Bobbin is a class act.
The centre is one of the hardest-working players I’ve seen come out of Group 16, but also working off the field to build a massive future for his home club.
He hasn’t just helped enlist a premiership-potential team, but is embedding the culture into the Blue Heelers’ future, he’s set a benchmark in speed, toughness and agility that future coaches will need to follow.
On the paddock, Bobbin is an inspiring presence, he leads the charge from the front, reading plays out of the centres and drawing in defenders to open up space for his wingers, but he also moves in and sets up play out of dummy-half, or makes his own impacting runs up the middle.
Bobbin leads by example, he’s taken shoulder bone-crunching hits, head-highs and shoulder charges, but gets up without a moan and gets back to his position.
And his strength doesn’t lie only in the rugged toughness synonymous with players from Bombala, but his immense leadership, his ability to read the play and ready his squad for the task.
The ladies league-tag High Heelers have been a top-tier outfit for a couple of years, but Bobbin is helping to mold the first grade outfit to match – and their current standing is something the club could only have dreamed of in past years.
Just two years ago in 2015, the Blue Heelers were the first grade cellar dwellers, picking up just two wins for the entire season, then last year they began the building process, and now under Bobbin’s guidance are second only to the Cooma Stallions and showing genuine potential to take out the Group 16 premiership.
The last time the two clubs met, the Stallions only kept their undefeated status alive by a mere two points, and even Cooma has to concede it was only a last-minute try that sealed that result.
The Blue Heelers boast size, but the captain-coach is helping ensure the team has much more than that: they are strong, fit and highly mobile.
And it doesn’t stop there, Bombala are now one of the most polished teams in the competition with quick movement and some classy set plays.
If the Blue Heelers can knock over the Stallions, the club could be in for a real fairy-tale finish as they continue that campaign in Cooma this week and Bobbin has been instrumental in setting that up.
Whether the captain-coach gets the joy of hoisting the Group 16 premiership shield high on grand final day or not, there is no denying that the Blue Heelers are being led by a class act.