Sport

Walters playing with Clarence league history

CHASING HISTORY: Rhys Walters at Lower Clarence Magpies training earlier this week.
CHASING HISTORY: Rhys Walters at Lower Clarence Magpies training earlier this week.

RUGBY LEAGUE: In more than a decade of first grade football Rhys Walters has tackled more rampaging front-rowers than most could count. But now the determined dummy half is tackling something even more elusive: he's tackling history.

In what was one of the toughest decisions he has made in his 26 years, Walters left the South Grafton Rebels after clinching back-to-back Group 2 premierships to take up residency at the Lower Clarence Magpies.

It was a move Walters had to make as he endeavours to become only the second player in history to win a premiership at all three Clarence clubs.

If he can achieve the dream it will put the experienced hooker in impressive company with only the great fullback Ray 'Poss' Ide, who won a title with each club in the 1970s, to achieve it before.

"I have made no secrets, I am going down to Lower to win the competition," Walters said. "I think I am more determined and more focussed than ever because I have a set goal."

Walters said the dream came through conversations with his dad, Col, who has been alongside the hooker every step of his first grade journey which began in 2006.

"When (Rebels) won the comp the first time I got talking to the old man about having a chance to win it with all three," he said. "I spoke to Joe Kinnane who told me about Ray Ide being the only guy to do it.

"I spoke to Dan (Randall, Lower Clarence coach) about potentially coming down in 2017. I started pre-season with South Grafton but I would go to bed at night and couldn't stop thinking about it."

While he has inked a deal with the Magpies, the dogged number nine said he is far from closing the door on his career with the Rebels.

Rebel captain Rhys Walters holds up the trophy after winning the Group 2 Country Rugby League 1st Grade grand final between South Grafton Rebels and Coffs Comets at McKittrick Park South Grafton on Sunday 23 August, 2015. Final score Rebels way 46-18. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner
Rebel captain Rhys Walters holds up the trophy after winning the Group 2 Country Rugby League 1st Grade grand final between South Grafton Rebels and Coffs Comets at McKittrick Park South Grafton on Sunday 23 August, 2015. Final score Rebels way 46-18. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner Debrah Novak

Walters joined the Rebels in 2013 after seven years in the Ghosts first grade side and after a few luckless seasons on the south side of the Clarence River was a driving force behind their historic premiership win in 2015.

"We didn't win a game in two years but I achieved what I wanted to achieve," Walters said. "In the last years at Grafton it was becoming a second job. I was losing the passion and the love.

"But after moving to the Rebels I found it again. Even though we were losing games I got the enjoyment back."

Now he is hungry. Hungry to carve out his own local league legacy. But Walters knows it won't happen overnight.

"You can really feel the Magpies are building to something special," he said. "They have got some really talented, experienced blokes in the club and some great juniors coming through."

Walters praised his partner Amber for her support in the decision and said he could not have done it without her by his side.

Topics:  clarence league dummy-half group 2 lower clarence magpies nrrrl rhys walters rugby league south grafton rebels


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