Nambucca coach steps down
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
AFTER three years at the helm of Nambucca Heads where he gained respect as one of the smartest operators in Group 2, Roosters coach Mark Morrison will be handing in his coach's whistle and clipboard at the end of the season.
Morrison believes that three years is enough time to spend at one place and that the end of this season is the right time to move on.
"I like three years as a coach, I don't profess to have the same ability as Wayne Bennett or Smithy or any of those blokes and hang around for 10,13 or 15 years," Morrison said.
"Three years for me uses up my bag of tricks but it gets my players to an understanding of the level of footy that I'd like them to play and they're skilled enough to be able to play with anyone.
"They're in a good position."
If Nambucca were to grab an ex-NRL player now, they would be extremely hard to stop."
There's an old adage in football that a good coach leaves a football club in a better state than when he found it.
A number of key personnel at Coronation Park can't speak highly enough of the effect Morrison has had on the club, as evidenced by the coach being awarded the best clubman trophy last year.
But does Morrison believe that he's improved Nambucca Heads under his tutelage?
"I hope I have," he said.
"I think the sign is in the blokes themselves.
"They're turning up, they're keen.
"They're willing basically to do whatever they need to do on the field as a bunch of mates to play footy.
"We're leaving them in that state and they've definitely got a lot more skill in them than when we came there, so hopefully the club gets the right people in and they'll play on the back of that."
Those who speak to Morrison on a regular basis quickly realise that the school teacher is a man who devours football and it is his obvious passion.
The coach is capable of creating a game plan that can cause chinks in the armour of even the most infallible opposition and will usually be able to quote some statistical data to prove his point.
Surely then for a man who possesses an addiction for the game, this can't be his last football hit.
"Hopefully I'll have Group 2 again, I've definitely got NSW 15s (Combined Catholic Schools) again and I'd like the divisional job again," Morrison wondered about his future.
"My son is going to change from soccer to footy at the moment, so I'll be coaching his under 11 side."
Word on the football grapevine travels quickly and already Morrison has received some feelers from clubs about the possibility of gaining his services in 2006.
"I've been approached by a couple of people because they know that I'm not at Nambucca but I've made no full commitment to anyone.
"You'd have to say being a Kempsey local that I'm disappointed with where the Mustangs are and next year in the 18s they'll have 12 kids of mine from school, that could be somewhere that I'll end up.
"But I'm not making any commitment to that."