Milestone match for dedicated Drover

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Deniliquin Drovers will celebrate one of their most committed players when Erasmus Bothma takes to the field for his 50th game for the club tomorrow.

Bothma and the Drovers will travel to take on Wagga Ag College for round eight of the Southern Inland Rugby Union McMullen Cup competition.

To make 50 games is a great milestone for him and the club, especially as the Drovers only play around 12 games a year.

‘Rassie’ as he’s affectionately known, is dedicated to the club, with his whole family often travelling to support him and the club at away games.

The 41 year-old missed the majority of the 2016 season after suffering a broken ankle but returned to play a significant part in the 2017 premiership winning Drovers side that broke a 10 year flag drought.

Bothma said he was quite proud to have reached the milestone for the club.

‘‘I moved from South Africa in 2013 and was happy to see there was a rugby union club here in town,’’ he said.

‘‘The premiership win was the highlight for me, it was just great, especially having missed most of the previous year with a broken ankle.

‘‘But really, I just enjoy playing alongside a bunch of young blokes now.

‘‘I enjoy trying to teach them what to do and what not to do. It’s just good to see young players at the club.

‘‘I’ve always said that I want to play up until we win another premiership, but I don’t know when that will be.

‘‘I’ll just stick to playing for as long as my body lets me.’’

The South African-born forward, who shared the club’s 2018 best and fairest honours, is likely to start in the front row against Aggies.

Coach Mark Thompson described Bothma, who made his debut with the club in 2014, as a ‘‘quiet achiever’’.

‘‘Rassie is one of those players that just turns up each week and does his job,’’ he said.

‘‘He never complains and has developed into a real leader within the playing group.

‘‘He often plays after working night shift, which can include several hours of travel, or sometimes before starting work and he still finds time to help the club off the field.

‘‘Hopefully we can get a win for him.’’

The Drovers will play at Beres Elwood Oval, Wagga Wagga with kick-off at 12 noon.