OLD Bar Pirates have already re-signed up to 90 per cent of this year's roster for the 2022 Group Three Rugby League season.
Jordan Worboys, who will captain-coach the side along with the 2021 mentor, Mick Henry, said the signings have been 'priority one' for the club in the past few weeks.
"We think we had the roster to go all the way this year,'' Worboys said.
"Unfortunately we didn't get the opportunity when the comp was called off. So we have some unfinished business next season.''
The Pirates were in third place and were a chance to shoot for second when the last game of the season was played on Saturday, August 14. Old Bar was due to play second placed Port Macquarie at Wauchope that day, but the game didn't go ahead as the State went into lockdown at 5pm.
This will be Worboys' first coaching appointment. The 28-year-old playmaker returned to the Pirates this year after stints playing in Canberra, North Sydney and Newcastle.
Henry had charge of the side for the first time this year. However, he lives in Muswellbrook and commutes for training and games. This will happen again in 2022.
"I helped out last year when Mick couldn't get here. So I suppose this (coaching) is a natural transition,'' Worboys said.
"And with COVID, Mick could get stuck in Muswellbrook and that would leave us without a coach, so it's a natural fit.''
(Wingham captain-coach Mick Sullivan was locked down in his Central Coast home after the game against Forster-Tuncurry on June 26 and didn't play another match or attend a training session).
Worboys added that taking on a coaching role hasn't been a long term ambition.
"No, not really, we moved back here from Newcastle last year and I enjoyed the season. We have some good young players here and I want to help them out, the same way I was helped when I was their age,'' Worboys explained.
One thing he wants to do is lock in some trials. Persistent rain at the start of this year cruelled the club's hopes of playing pre-season games while also disrupting training sessions. Worboys believes this is why the Pirates made a slow start to the year, losing two of the opening three games.
He described the entire campaign as 'stop-start' due to the problems with the weather that persisted until halfway through the season.
"At one stage we went 10 weeks and only trained on a field twice,'' Worboys pointed out.
"That's something we want to rectify this year. We've already looked at alternative venues if there's problems with the weather.''
Worboys expects training will begin in January, depending on the starting date for the competition, although the club will have some informal sessions leading into Christmas.
Unless something untoward happens he'll play at seven in 2022, part of a halves combination with Jake Hazard. Henry will remain at hooker.
Old Bar hasn't won a competition since 1999. Worboys remains confident the Pirates are building a team capable of ending that drought.
"I'm really looking forward to it,'' he added.