Ross takes pride of place with Lions
AFTER taking a year off to re-charge his batteries, multiple premiership-winning coach Jon Ross has returned to the helm of Coffs United Lions in 2005.
After guiding the Lions to the top eight of the 2003 state-wide Champions of Champions competition, Ross felt the need for a break last season.
"I had last year off after 15 years (of coaching), when you need to motivate the coach you know it's time for a break," he said.
"I still played last year (for Lions reserve grade), but I took the year off as a coach."
He has returned this year with some lofty goals.
"Our goal from the start of the season will be to go through undefeated," Ross said.
"When I last coached the side (in 2003), we won everything apart from the champion of champions.
"We will be hunting the champion of champions trophy this year if we can win the minor premiership.
"Barring injury, I think we will have quite a good year.
However, Ross conceded the Lions could struggle if injuries hit hard, as they did in 2004.
"We have lost about three or four players from firsts and about three-quarters of our reserve grade side," he said.
"At this stage we have about 18 good players (for first and reserve grade), so depth might be a problem."
Ross admits coaching is now almost a full-time job on its own, so this year he hired two assistants.
Former Coffs Lions star Brett Adams will be his assistant coach and technical director with club stalwart Sandro Rigoni taking charge of reserve grade.
"I feel confident that with Brett and Sandro as part of my team this season we can achieve even greater success and look forward to the challenge of the season," he said.
Ross says the return of Adams to the Lions den after ten years playing on the Gold Coast will be a major coup for the club.
"Brett is one of the most talented and exciting players ever to play in this area and he has a wealth of knowledge and experience to tap into, not only as a coach but as a player," Ross said.
"Also with the support of Sandro, who has proved to be great mentor to our junior players over past seasons, I think we have the right mix to help achieve our goals."
He is also looking forward to the prospect of testing the Lions' strength against Clarence River Association clubs in the newly former North Coast Premier League competition.
"I think it will be really good," he said.
"We used to play against Clarence River clubs in the earlier years and they were always difficult opposition."
n Coffs United Lions trials against clubs from Sydney and Brisbane in the coming months. On February 26, Lions will play Queensland State League club Rochedale at Coffs Harbour Showgrounds and will travel to Sydney to meet Putney a week later.