Dalby Wheatmen C-Grade captain Troy Francis with Chinchilla River Rats captain Chris Gaschk after Chinchilla won the Cooranga Creek Cup earlier this year.
Dalby Wheatmen C-Grade captain Troy Francis with Chinchilla River Rats captain Chris Gaschk after Chinchilla won the Cooranga Creek Cup earlier this year. Contributed

River Rats' Gaschk talks captaincy and comedy

NOW in his seventh season with the Chinchilla River Rats, Chris Gaschk has taken over the reins as captain from Michael Sperling - and he admits he has big shoes to fill.

The first three games of the season have been "a bit of a rollercoaster,” Gaschk said, but with some experience as vice-captain last year, he's up for the challenge.

"A big part of the role is mediating between the team and the referee, that and trying to keep everyone to stay with the game plan, directing the in-game strategy that coach Lindsay Ashby has come up with,” he said.

While Saturday was the River Rats' first home game in Chinchilla, Gaschk's focus is on the long haul, and getting the Rats to the grand final.

"We still haven't won (a grand final) yet so obviously that's the aim. We've got the players to do it (this year). As long as we all stay fit and have no major injuries, we'll give it a pretty good, red-hot crack,” he said.

Gaschk reckons that with the new players joining the side with "a fair bit of rugby experience” and a good retention rate from last season, their odds are favourable.

Of course, the River Rats have never been a team that takes themselves too seriously.

Rat Weekly is the brainchild of River Rats captain Chris Gaschk.
Rat Weekly is the brainchild of River Rats captain Chris Gaschk. Contributed

Gaschk has another, perhaps lesser-known role in the club. He is the brains behind Rat Weekly (pictured), a series of satirical posters he puts together with information he hears around the ridges.

"I've got a few blokes that send me through content on some of the stuff that's happened throughout the week,” he said, laughing.

"I've got my eyes and ears out there and make up something stupid.”

Memorable Rat Weeklies have contained headlines such as "Travers Tragedy - Flanker suffers career- ending back injury from carrying side for two years” and the tongue-in-cheek, "Teachers Union - Teaching trio join a union that doesn't involve strikes”.

He also pieces together the River Rats' videos - this year's pre-season recruitment video was a brilliant spoof of John Farnham's You're the Voice.

It received 23,000 views on Facebook.

"I don't know if that translates to actual players playing, but it's good to get people talking about our club and people know we're out there if people do want to play,” he said.


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