Bello?s Christmas wish
By MITCHELL DALE
SANTA, if you're reading this, there is only one thing the Bellingen rugby league executive committee wants for Christmas, a first grade coach.
You see, Santa, the club has the players, the funds and the approval of other clubs to play in next year's VB Group 2 competition; all it needs is a decent coach.
It's been over three months since a group of around 20 voted unanimously for the Magpies to return to the VB Group 2 competition in 2005.
At the time, club president Steve Glyde said he wanted a first grade coach signed up by November.
November has come and gone, and still no coach has been appointed.
Glyde and his board have interviewed five potential coaches and offered the position to four ? Dane Cronin, Troy Diconoski, Matt Donovan and Geoff Batten.
However, all offers have been rejected.
The Magpies couldn't field first or reserve grade sides this year and 2005 is seen as the last chance for senior rugby league in Bellingen.
Glyde knows next year has to be a success and admits it is a worry the black and whites are still with out a coach, especially when most other Group 2 clubs have already started pre-season training.
"It is definitely a cause for concern, but we still have a couple of options," Glyde said.
"We have organised for a player manager in Newcastle to give us some names and we are currently in talks with someone who played in Brisbane last year.
"The talks we've held (with prospective captain-coaches) have been very positive, but I think they have been a bit worried about the standard of players we will have here.
"But I can assure them we have a strong player base, they just need a leader.
"We have 16 players who have played first grade listed and have had a lot of enquiries from other players.
"If we can get a coach who can hopefully bring some quality players with him, we will have a very good squad."
The Bellingen committee promised the players a high-profile coach, but Glyde concedes time is running out to deliver.
"We definitely need to have a coach in place by Christmas," he said.
"We need to start training early-January."
Glyde said the process of appointing a captain-coach has taken longer than expected.
"It takes a couple of weeks to get in touch with someone, then it takes a while for them to get back to us," he said.
"All up it takes about three weeks to a month and then, once they they have fallen through, we have had to move onto another one."
Saint Nick, if you're still there, the Bellingen committee have all been pretty well-behaved this year.
So if you could scrounge around that big red sack of yours and pull out a first grade coach, the Bellingen committee would be most grateful if you send him down their the chimney on December 24.
- Port Macquarie had no such problem appointing their coach for next year. Tony Pascoe has been named as replacement for Trent McKeough.