Former Milton Ulladulla player Justin Holbrook is again the subject of conversation among rugby league followers, having been named coach of the Gold Coast Titans in season 2020.
Holbrook is currently in charge of the mighty St.Helens Club in the UK Super League. After 24 rounds St Helens are on 42 points, 12 ahead of Warrington in second. Saints have 21 wins to 3 losses and are short-priced favourites to take out the title.
During his playing days Holbrook backed up such players as Andrew Johns at Newcastle, Adrian Lam at Easts and Craig Gower at Penrith. Clubs had engaged Holbrook due to the extended absences of their top halves during State of Origin series.
In 2004 Holbrook joined Milton Ulladulla to partner Greg Sherwin in a tilt at the South Coast Group 7 Championship. Milton Ulladulla's line-up was Ben Chapple, Andrew McCabe, Cheyne Whitford, Michael Skwarko, Nathan Ridley, Byron Larkings, Adam Costa, Robbie Williams, John Dale, Shane Tracy, Brett Cox, Ben Mackinnon, Peter McInnes, Chris Jaffrey and Adam Stone, all former local junior players.
The squad also included former Nowra players Brett Austin, Russell Chaffey, Bill Brown and Paul Winshuttle, formerly of Kellyville, Sherwin a former Canterbury Bankstown Junior Rep and of course Holbrook. The coach, Andrew Phillips, who also coached Southern Division, was in his first year as a coach, and his staff were Steve Blundell, Bill Whitby, and Mark Hamilton.
In his annual report the then SCG7 secretary David Hall reported that in 2004 Milton Ulladulla had broken a 16-year drought to take out the Tooheys South Coast title after overwhelming Berry Shoalhaven Heads 50-12 in front of a huge crowd.
The gate at Berry Showground on the day was a record with six clubs involved. Berry in First and Reserve Grade and Shellharbour City in Reserves and 18's. Milton's Tracy scored off the kick-off and Berry were never in the game from then on.
The lower grades in 2004 were coached by Paul Love and Peter Leffley with the Under 18's going down 36-34 in the final to the eventual premiers Kiama.
Local Junior Adam Stone, who gave his side a major share of possession on the day of the GF, won the Mick Cronin Medal as well as the Roy Stewart Rookie of the Year Award. Holbrook shared the Kevin Walsh Leading Pointscoring award as well as winning the Tim Jones Try Scoring Award.
Before moving to St Helens, Holbrook began honing his coaching skills in the NRL as an assistant coach at some astute NRL clubs.
Many local rugby league followers will watch the performance of the Titans with interest in 2020.
On a sadder note, former Milton Ulladulla player Grant Evans lost life recently after a determined battle against cancer. A huge memorial service was held for Grant at the Mollymook Surf Club.
Grant was the son of Rhonda Evans, nephew of John Turnbull and grandson of the late Sid Turnbull, all of whom are Life Members of the MURLFC Inc.
In 1986 Grant was the first ever Milton Ulladulla player to win the Kevin Walsh Scholarship Award. Grant will be missed by his parents Bob and Rhonda, his family and the many friends he made over his 50 years.