Click or flick across for more photos of Olds' and Meakins' time with the Steamers.
THE Steamers have lost their Welsh connection.
This year’s undefeated Southern Riverina rugby champions will be without star fullback James Olds and giant prop Scott Meakins next year.
The point-scoring machine and Wales Regional Player of the Year in 2012 will instead turn out for Uni-Norths in Canberra’s premier division.
Coaching directors and fellow Welshman Steve Stone, who helped lure his countrymen to Albury-Wodonga, is also expected to step down.
It comes at a time when many of the Steamers’ established stars are also considering their future and premiership coach Dave Stuart is undecided about next year.
James Kora has already announced he played his last game in the 41-7 grand final win, while there is a question over captain Nathan Bright, Justin Wheatley and Mick Alexander.
Steamers president Justin Clancy was philosophical about the losses.
“As a club we are sorry to lose the Welsh boys and at the same time grateful for their efforts this year,” he said.
“But Scott and James are only young and are looking to play at a higher level.
“I don’t think there is any doubt they would be an asset to any rugby side — no matter what level.”
Clancy said the coaching positions would be finalised next month.
“We are still to sit down with Steve and discuss next year but he made it clear when he joined the club that work commitments may limit that involvement to a year,” he said.
“Dave is in a similar position —it could be that work and family may take him out of the area.
“It is certainly likely to be a year of change with a number of veterans who have been so good for so many years also considering their future.
“We put into place a plan for the future this year with the coaching set-up but at this level of rugby we understand the need for flexibility.
“We’ve advertised the coaching positions and expect to be able to make a formal announcement in mid November.”