Terry Campese had a few goals he wanted to achieve when he returned to the Queanbeyan Blues as captain-coach.
Obviously there is the stock standard goal of winning the premiership - but Campese wanted to bring his junior club back together off the field. Both goals have got off to a perfect start after the Blues knocked over fellow Canberra Raiders Cup contenders and arch-nemesis the Queanbeyan Kangaroos at Seiffert Oval on Saturday.
The hosts blew their cross-town rivals off the park in a stunning first half display before narrowly avoiding a grandstand finish to secure a 36-26 victory. Campese looked like he had all the time in the world as he steered the Blues to victory in front of a big contingent of old boys at the first past players event of the season.
"I remember when I came through we used to all go to the pub afterwards and do presentations up there, and every now and then have an old boys day - I'm trying to build that culture back," Campese said. "I'm trying to get that little get together once a month, because it's important to have the old players around, telling old yarns. It's also good for them I think, being away from football sometimes is depressing as we see with a lot of this mental health stuff.
But it goes beyond having a few old boys telling stories from years gone by - as the Blues walked onto the field before kick-off, almost every player held the hand of a club junior. Junior players will accompany the Blues out onto Seiffert Oval at every home game, while top grade players will train with junior teams every month.
Campese had a hand in three first half tries, and he wasn't the only one enjoying success in a return to Seiffert Oval. Mitchell Day returned home from a stint in the Queensland Cup and when he crashed over midway through the first half to push his side further in front, alarm bells started ringing for the Roos. Campese "couldn't have been happier" at half time as the Blues shot out to a 30-4 lead, before Roos five-eighth Brent Crisp took control to lead the visitors back into the contest.
Blues 36 (S Kalsbeek, J Wheeler 2, M Day, T Reudiger 2 tries; T Campese 6 goals) bt Kangaroos 26 (T Aroha-Tuinauvai, B Crisp 2, M Connolly, A Gorrell tries; B Crisp 2 goals).