Wallace might stay on
By GREG WHITE
INCUMBENT Group 2 senior coach Craig Wallace hasn't discounted another season with the senior rugby league representative squad despite rumours he won't be applying for the job.
The position will be announced on March 12 with the successful candidate leading the historic Harvey Norman Centenary Cup campaign in a state-wide knockout format.
"There are still a couple of weeks before the application has to be in but I have to be comfortable with how things are going at club level with Sawtell before I make up my mind," he said.
"But it is certain if I do apply and get the job again, it will be in a non-playing capacity, I won't be heading out there on to the field."
In 2007, Wallace engineered Group 2's long-term domination of neighbouring Group 3 before coaching the North Coast Divisional side to within one win of a grand final berth in the Country Championships.
On-field leadership saw him pencilled in as 'shadow' for giant prop Grant Wooden in the Country Firsts squad and excellence in performances was a major factor in being named Coffs Coast Advocate 'Player of the Year.'
"I enjoyed playing last year but it takes a lot out of you," he said.
It's believed Dunghutti boss Paul Davis is keen for another crack at the job and is an early applicant but the other logical prospect Macleay Valley coach Mark Morrison is not as keen with a full plate of club, representative and consultancy commitments on his agenda.
Group 2 take on Group 19 in Armidale on May 3 and if successful, face the winner of the clash between Oxley Region partners, Groups 3 and 4, one week later at a venue still to be determined.
Wallace predicts another bright season for the Panthers and is warning little notice should be taken of the 46-6 loss to North Tamworth in a weekend trial.
"They were probably in the same boat as us, using the trial for a bonding exercise and blowing a few of the cobwebs out," he said.
"Our squad that we used is the basis for reserve grade as most of the key troops are still coming back through the system.
"The same will happen when we play Bellingen in a couple of weeks but from then on, you'll see the top side start to appear and it should come together fairly quickly."
Meanwhile, it's unlikely further action will be taken against the Dunghutti club or 17-year-old player Blake Collins following the controversial clash with Sydney City Roosters in a Port Macquarie trial on February 15.
A disagreement involving Collins and visiting forward Anthony Cherrington sparked a melee that eventually lead to a one-match ban being handed out to Roosters player Frank-Paul Nuuausala.
Country Rugby League General Manager Terry Quinn believes the suspension was an overreaction and the entire incident was blown out of proportion.
"There was an altercation, there was a bit of a punch-up," he said.
"But I'm not sure if any action should be taken, it should be left on the field."
But Group 2 secretary Peter O'Grady said the decision by the Broncos to hold the trial without clearing players registered by rival clubs was still the subject of investigation.