Mo thrilled at come-back
SIX months ago the rugby league future looked bleak for Scott Mieni after he stepped down from the position of head coach at the Coffs Harbour club.
Following a career that had delivered a string of premiership successes and the top job with New South Wales Country, three seasons with the Comets had provided a single semi-final appearance ? and a lot of heartache.
Mieni also battled a life-threatening illness and with his career in limbo at the end of 2006, the master coach was openly wondering if he'd ever make it back to the park.
But next Friday night before Brisbane take on Penrith at Suncorp Stadium, Mieni will again hold the clipboard and carry a walkie-talkie when he takes charge of NSW Indigenous under-16s for their interstate clash with the Queensland juniors.
"There wasn't really a time I doubted if I could still do the coaching job but it was a thrill and relief to be asked to come back," he said.
"I've taken a senior rep team to Telstra Stadium and now I'm going to the other great footy ground, Suncorp, so it's been a big turnaround."
For three days last week, Mieni was involved in a frantic sequence of secret discussions before being advised the job was his.
"Still don't know who exactly it was who put me up for it but I'm not complaining," he said.
"To be able to have an influence on a batch of kids at probably the most important stage of their career, as they prepare to move into the big time, is a great honour."
All members of the 17-man squad are linked with NRL teams but will travel under the banner of their home towns.
Carlton Mid Group 2 will supply fullback Karl Quinlan from Port Macquarie while Kempsey will be represented by one of the most exciting talents in the game, five-eighth Albert Kelly.
Kelly was snapped up by the Parramatta Eels when league legend Arthur Beetson declared him a 'certain future international' after discovering him at a schools carnival.
"The boys will meet up on Tuesday and we'll have our first run at Erskineville Oval late in the day," Mieni said.
"We'll stick together for three days and I'll make sure all the young fellows enjoy the experience.
"And I bet there'll be one old fellow who'll enjoy it more than any of them."