Lower Clarence Magpies forward Dalton Shaw carts the ball into the Casino Cougars defensive line.
Lower Clarence Magpies forward Dalton Shaw carts the ball into the Casino Cougars defensive line. Belinda Martyn

MAGPIES TURMOIL: Coach walks out on Lower Clarence

RUGBY LEAGUE: Lower Clarence Magpies are facing a turbulent start to the 2018 season after the club officially parted ways with coach Evan Cochrane.

A former Newcastle Knights first grade premiership-winner, Cochrane came on with the club last year and began pre-season training before Christmas.

But it is understood the coach and the club have been on rocky ground in recent weeks, with Cochrane unhappy with a lack of commitment from players.

 

Former Newcastle Knights NRL player Evan Cochrane is bringing his wealth of experience to the hot seat at the Lower Clarence Magpies.
Former Newcastle Knights NRL player Evan Cochrane is bringing his wealth of experience to the hot seat at the Lower Clarence Magpies. Matthew Elkerton

Lower Clarence was forced to pull out of the Coffs Nines last month due to a lack of numbers and were caught short of players against the Coffs Harbour Comets in a trial at Yamba less than a fortnight ago.

Cochrane was not at the club's season launch at the Maclean Hotel on Saturday night, and Magpies president Bruce Howard confirmed the club had parted ways with the coach on Tuesday morning.

"Unfortunately we have parted ways (with Cochrane)," Howard said. "But we appreciate the time and effort that he has put into the club over the preseason and wish him all the best.

"At this point in time the club and myself will not be making any further comment."

It was a tough blow for the Magpies who have built one of the club's best roster of players since their premiership-winning run in 2009.

 

Ochre and Hughie Stanley prepare for a season together at the Lower Clarence Magpies.
Ochre and Hughie Stanley prepare for a season together at the Lower Clarence Magpies. Caitlan Charles

Bush footy veteran Hugh Stanley has returned to the black and whites along with former dummy-half Tom Martin. They join Dan Randall and Ryan Binge in a strong leadership group.

Add the explosiveness of young stars Kyle Roberts and Eathan Kapeen who will only develop this season and things were beginning to look up for the Lower Clarence side.

With just over two weeks to the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League season, the timing of the announcement could not be worse for the proud Lower Clarence club.


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