Ross Sutherland club president John Scott believes Mitchell McSpadden is the perfect person to reinvigorate the youth set-up at the Naval Grounds.
Already first team vice captain, McSpadden has been appointed Cashback development officer in Alness, and has been entrusted with leading the under-18 team this year.
With a replacement for former club development officer John Mann yet to be found, more responsibility – in the short term at least – will be placed on McSpadden’s shoulders, but Scott is confident he will thrive in the roles.
“We’re very excited that Mitchell has got the role at Alness,” Scott said.
“Given that Mitchell is a local lad who understands the challenges of living up here, he will be able to empathize with people.
“He’s a really inspirational kind of guy, so we’re delighted he’s got that role, and he’s going to give the under-18s a bit of a nudge too.
“Mitchell is a younger coach with different ideas, so he’s going to try to round up under-18 players from around our counties.”
A few years ago Ross Sutherland saw a group of young players step into the senior side after impressing in the under-18s.
As a result, the Stags are well aware of how vital strong numbers in youth teams are.
“We’ve been a bit light the last few years,” Scott added.
“Kids at that age have other interests, they get jobs, it’s difficult, but we want to make sure we have a strong under-18s.
“You get youth teams that are strong and a pile of them come in to the first team. Really, we’re looking for four or five players to transition to senior rugby every year, understanding we’ll lose some going south.
“We need that constant supply of players developing in our ranks, and then when you add players moving to the area you can build a pretty good team.”
That said, Ross Sutherland has also taken steps to expand social rugby in Invergordon, as well as putting effort into establishing a women’s and girls’ set up too, so Scott believes there is a place for everyone at the club.
“We need to make sure we cater for people who might not want to play as competitive rugby as the first team does, and that’s why we have two teams,” he said.
“If people want to come along and play rugby every now and then, we can facilitate that.
“There’s the opportunity to volunteer too. You don’t have to be a rugby fan, but you can still come along and be part of our community.”
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