PAUL Plummer has shocked the Griffith cricket community by ending his decade-long stint with the Coro Cougars to link up with perennial strugglers Leagues Club.
The former Griffith Cricketer of the Year has been headhunted by the Leagues hierarchy to lead the wooden spooners out of the local cricketing abyss and provide guidance to the club’s strong junior base.
Plummer celebrated a rare GDCA treble with the Cougars earlier this year but blindsided his old club with his decision to take on the new challenge.
He said his former Coro teammates were stunned when he informed them he was jumping ship to Leagues Club.
“I got them all together and had a meeting and told them all,” the experienced all-rounder said.
“A lot were definitely shocked but I explained why and said what was happening and the reasons behind it.
“I’ve made good mates there and I haven’t lost any mates over it.
“I love them all, and I’ll still be part of Coro - I’ll still go down and help them out where I can.
“I was happy at Coro. It may not look that way but I was. I’m just trying to help Leagues Club out.
“This is for Griffith cricket and the young juniors at a club that’s been struggling for as long as I’ve been here.”
It is expected Plummer will be named the Panthers’ captain for the new season, which begins with a one-dayer against Hanwood on Saturday afternoon.
Plummer, who will be joined at Leagues Club by another Coro player, Ben Leach, stressed his sole motivation was to help out a generation of cricketers that could be lost to the game if they continue losing.
Leagues Club has the best collection of juniors in Griffith with the list headed by the likes of Connor Matheson, Logan Matheson, Matt Peruzzi and Blake Ritorto.
But the club has been woeful in first grade for the last few years.
“I wouldn’t have gone to another strong club to make it stronger,” Plummer said.
“They’ve got good juniors and their ability is fantastic, but to go out and get flogged every week - which is what’s been happening - can’t be much fun for them.
“If that keeps happening, Griffith in general is going to lose some good cricketers and I don’t want to see that happen.
“I’m not expecting to go there and start winning games off my own bat or change everything. I just want to be competitive and get everyone back enjoying their cricket. That’s my main aim.”
Panthers vice president Don Hassan said he was delighted to have signed Plummer, a player with “presence”.
“He’s a powerful cricketer. He bowls fast and when he hits it, it stays hit,” he said.
“This’ll be the most exciting start to a season we’ve had in a while.
“We’ve had a mass evacuation of experienced people over the last 10 seasons and we’ve looked at filling it up from the top, rather than the bottom.
“We offered Plum a challenge to be a mentor and a guide for these kids and he’s said yes, thank god. It would have been really easy for him to say no. He gave it a lot of thought.”
Plummer said he intended to return back to Coro before the end of his career.
“It took us a lot of years to build up at Coro,” he said.
“It’s going to be a bit of a change now but it gives other people an opportunity to step up and get some runs and wickets.
“I don’t know how long this will last but I’ll definitely end up back at Coro.”