Sport

Teams ready for battle

Can the Grafton Ghosts make it three-in-a-row NRRRL titles?
Can the Grafton Ghosts make it three-in-a-row NRRRL titles?

THE Northern Star's Rugby League reporter Mitchell Craig takes a look at the coaches, losses and gains at clubs in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League competition for 2012.

BALLINA SEAGULLS

Gains

Andrew Battese (Gold Coast Breakers rugby), Greg Ryan, Simon Perkins, Dean French (year off), Nikko Roberts (Newcastle), Ben Robinson (Ballina rugby).

Losses

Don Dickson (Brisbane), Joel Roberts (Northern United).

Coaching

Greg Barnes takes the reins after working as an assistant coach last season.

Prediction

"We've got a couple of blokes back that played in the 2010 grand final," Barnes said.

"We have a new board and committee and I think we're heading in the right direction

"I think we have a good mix of youth and experience to improve on a disappointing season last year."

BYRON BAY RED DEVILS

Gains

Simon Kelly (year off), Clarence Kelly (Evans Head), Jared Dethierri (Tweed Seagulls), Ryan O'Connell (Murwillumbah).

Coaching

Eli Colby and Tobin Cupples will share the responsibilities after both players suffered broken ankles last season.

Prediction

The Red Devils return to first grade after only fielding reserve grade and under-18 sides last season.

"We won the grand final in 2008 and we've always had a winning culture at the club," president Damon McCarthy said.

"We're confident of fielding all three grades and excited to be back in the top grade."

CASINO COUGARS

Gains

Luke Scott, Scott Gibson, Shaun Locke (year off), George Clarke (Leeds Rhinos).

Losses

Bryce Hosie (returning home to New Zealand), Jacob Ngauamo (Northern United).

Coaching

Troy Johnstone will be at the helm again after his first season coaching at senior level last season.

Prediction

"Damien Benn, James Hammond and Todd Johnson have had a couple of year's experience in first-grade now and we expect big things from them," club stalwart Brad Birney said.

"We're also relying on a number of under-18s coming through with twins Sam and Jacob Lyons, Kurt Rutley, Brendan Macquire, Wayne Freeburn, Luke Watego and Mitch Cooke."

EVANS HEAD BOMBERS

Gains

Braydon Vickery (Tinga).

Losses

Drew Tebbutt, Brad Fletcher (Brisbane) Clarence Kelly (Byron Bay), Trevor Bolt, Paletasiala Ale (Sydney).

Coaching

Mick Davis and captain Tim Tregidgo will share the coaching responsibilities again after taking the Bombers to their first finals appearance last season.

Prediction

"We have a young side and hope guys like Aaron Scells and Eli Cook can fill the void," club manager Brad Mayes said.

"We had signed Don Dickson from Ballina but he appears set to move to Brisbane for work."

GRAFTON GHOSTS

Gains

Joel Moss (Lower Clarence), Tim Tilse, Dave Emmett, Liam Bland, Nat Sewell (year off).

Losses

Adam Elliot (year off).

Coaching

Multiple premiership-winning halfback Ryan Farrell takes over from Col Speed who has taken an assistant coaching job with the Mackay Cutters in the Queensland Cup.

Prediction

Speed led the team to back-to back premierships last season with the Ghosts' heavy favourites to take out the grand final for the third consecutive year in 2012.

"I have big shoes to fill and it should be an exciting year for the club," Farrell said.

"We have about five or six under-18s coming through and that will only add to our depth."

KYOGLE TURKEYS

Gains

None

Losses

Alex Farrell, Josh Foley (Cairns), Garry Roberts, Johnny Walker (Northern United).

Coaching

Cameron Mulchay returns to the club he last played for as an 18-year-old after stints at the Ipswich Jets in the Queensland Cup and the Warwick Cowboys.

Prediction

"We want to win enough games to sneak into the finals after just missing out last season," assistant coach Mark Doolan said.

"You need to win games early in the season otherwise it will come back to haunt you."

LOWER CLARENCE MAGPIES

Gains

Grant Brown, Jerry Byers (Northern United).

Losses

Joel Moss (Ghosts), Xavier Sullivan (retired), Todd Cameron (Bellingen), Tom Martin (Mackay), Dan Randall (Rockhampton).

Coaching

Grant Brown returns to the club that he kicked the winning field goal for and won a first grade grand final with in 2009.

He takes over from coaches Ricky Binge and Dallas Waters.

Prediction

"We didn't get things right last season and Grant seems to have them motivated," club president Donald Johnson said.

"We're still rebuilding after being left in debt at the end of the 2009 season and we'll rely heavily on our juniors."

MARIST BROTHERS RAMS

Gains

Niko Vakararawa (two years off), Michael Assim (former Rams junior and front-rower from Coogee).

Losses

Luke Baker (Penrith Panthers), Blake Carter (Canterbury Bulldogs), Will Bugden (Parramatta Eels Toyota Cup).

Coaching

Premiership-winning hooker Adam Mayes returns to the club after three years as an assistant at Evans Head.

Prediction

"It's the club's 100th year and we're keen for some success," Mayes said.

"The boys lost some close games last year and were unlucky not to make the semi-finals.

"We want to have a good start and build towards our big anniversary game against Ballina on the June long weekend."

MULLUMBIMBY GIANTS

Gains

None.

Losses

Matt Mulchay (Wests Tigers), Bill Pyke (Sydney).

Coaching

The Giants will have former Australian and Manly fullback Graham Eadie take over from Damon Scott.

Prediction

"We don't pay players and rely on our junior talent coming through," club president Ken Barnham said.

"We'll start the season strong like last year and just hope that injuries don't derail us again.

"Our supporter base is a big asset and Eden Syme will be one to watch from our under-18s."

MURWILLUMBAH MUSTANGS

Gains

Tim James (Bilambil Jets), Steve Kirkham (Cudgen).

Losses

Ryan O'Connell (Byron Bay), Corey Maher, Steve Parsons (retirement).

Coaching

Troy McLean is at the helm again with star players Luke Covell and Damian Quinn back on deck.

Prediction

"We have a big pack again and we're probably a bit light on out wide," club president Nigel Lofts said.

"If we can sign another quality centre we'll be happy but Grafton Ghosts will be the team to beat."

NORTHERN UNITED DIRAWONGS

Gains

Jake Ngauamo (Casino) Jake Walker (Marist Brothers), Joel Roberts (Ballina), Garry Roberts, Johnny Walker, Jeremy Collins (Kyogle), Wilo James, Steve Kelly (Evans Head), Tennyson Strong (Armidale), Dwayne Duke (Grafton Rugby), Tim Green (Tweed Seagulls), Leonard Hickling (year off).

Losses

Brenton Cochrane (Wee Waa), Fred Waters (Lake Macquarie), Grant Brown, Jerry Byers (Lower Clarence), Chris Cubby (Newcastle).

Coaching

Roy Bell and Willie Hammond will share the captain-coaching responsibilities with Chris Binge to remain on as club manager.

Prediction

"We've had 55 players at training and our goal is to make the grand final after falling one try short in the last two seasons," club secretary Grantley Creighton said.

"We're the only team in the competition to finish in the top three for the past three seasons.

"We've added a bit of size to the forward pack and if we can cut a few errors out, we'll be hard to beat."

Topics:  nrrrl


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Has the shark attack scared off swimmers?

NO ONE WAS SWIMMING: Despite Ballina's Lighthouse Beach reopening on Tuesday sep 27 after Monday's shark attack, and the placement of two smart drum lines at the beach along with the start of aerial surveillance using the Little Ripper drone technology, no one was swimming at the beach mid-morning on Tuesday.Photo Graham Broadhead / Ballina Shire Advocate

It's a warm, sunny day, but Lighthouse Beach is practically empty

Fund Ballina's ocean pool in the shark strategy: Councillor

OCEAN POOL: Cr Jeff Johnson has received positive responses to his plans for an ocean pool at Shelly Beach.

Failed shark barrier could pave way for ocean pool

BEACH SAFETY: Can you reduce your risk of a shark attack?

Yesterday's attack reminded us that sharks are still out there, despite a quiet year so far. There are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of an unwanted encounter.

Some tips and helpful apps to help you be safe

Local Partners

More Northern River schools needed to be counted in

Music - Count Us In will be held in November throughout the country

Why Chris Hemsworth was spotted wearing nail polish

RED CARPET: Do you think Chris Hemsworth is the typical unpolished but well-natured Aussie bloke?

He's now officially the best bloke in Australia

Has the shark attack scared off swimmers?

NO ONE WAS SWIMMING: Despite Ballina's Lighthouse Beach reopening on Tuesday sep 27 after Monday's shark attack, and the placement of two smart drum lines at the beach along with the start of aerial surveillance using the Little Ripper drone technology, no one was swimming at the beach mid-morning on Tuesday.Photo Graham Broadhead / Ballina Shire Advocate

It's a warm, sunny day, but Lighthouse Beach is practically empty

Fund Ballina's ocean pool in the shark strategy: Councillor

OCEAN POOL: Cr Jeff Johnson has received positive responses to his plans for an ocean pool at Shelly Beach.

Failed shark barrier could pave way for ocean pool

BEACH SAFETY: Can you reduce your risk of a shark attack?

Yesterday's attack reminded us that sharks are still out there, despite a quiet year so far. There are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of an unwanted encounter.

Some tips and helpful apps to help you be safe

Encounters on stage at Lennox Head

COMING SOON: Dancers Elizabeth Venn and Tess Eckert are part of Encounters, the upcoming performance by SPRUNG!! Integrated Dance Theatre Inc.

By Sprung!! Dance Theatre Inc

PHOTOS: Teen attacked by shark on Ballina beach

Multiple people attended the scene at Lighthouse Beach where a shark attack took place around 9:30 on Monday morning. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Photos from the scene of the attack

It's time to get your shorts on the big screen

ANIMATED: Citizen To Activist, an animation by David Lowe and Eve Jeffrey, won the Jury Award for best Short Film at Flickerfest 2015 - Byron AllShorts.

Entries for Flickerfest 2017 and Byron All Shorts are now open

More Northern River schools needed to be counted in

John Foreman and Jay Laga'aia at a songwriting workshop earlier this year.

Music - Count Us In will be held in November

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber split

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber have split after 11 years together.

Why Chris Hemsworth was spotted wearing nail polish

RED CARPET: Do you think Chris Hemsworth is the typical unpolished but well-natured Aussie bloke?

He's now officially the best bloke in Australia

Testament's new album is a concept album

ROME, ITALY- JULY 27, 2016: Testament photographed at The Roman Collisseium in Rome, Italy on July 27,2016. Gene Ambo

Testament to release new album

'Baby' recreates famous Nirvana cover shot 25 years later

The baby from Nevermind album has recreated the iconic cover shot.

PREVIEW: Luke Cage origin story is a strong addition to MCU

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage.

MIKE Colter stars as latest Marvel superhero to get his own series.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction

Peppers Airlie Beach put on the market

ON THE MARKET: Peppers Airlie Beach is being for recievership sale by CBRE Hotels and PRD Nationwide Airlie Beach.

Peppers Airlie Beach is being offered for sale.

3500 jobs on the way with new $950 million resort

Residential, tourist, community, and open space on Hummock Hill Island.

PROPERTY developers plan to begin construction next year.