Coach Peter Denham was a success in 2010.
Coach Peter Denham was a success in 2010.

Denham takes contol of Group reins

SUCCESSFUL coach Peter Denham will again lead the VB Gold Group 2 representative squad in its 2011 Country Rugby League championship campaign.

His assistant remains former CRL player of the year, Darren Leaney.

Denham had already built a formidable reputation as a junior coach but made a stunning entry to the senior ranks last season when a new structure of stable management and recruitment was established.

The side contested Tier 2 of the CRL championships in Inverell, eventually bowing out in a controversial 32-24 loss to Group 11, the outfit which then went on to contest the grand final.

Group chairman Greg Mayhew described the 2010 bid as the ‘best performance by a Group side in many, many decades’.

“Probably the best I’ve seen,” he said. “We want the players, coaches and managers to all stick with it to take us to the next stage.”

A new policy of consulting all nine senior club coaches and recruiting players with a combination of certain athletic and personal qualities struck pay dirt.

The selection panel, headed by highly qualified talent spotter Maurie Lonergan, picked their desired team and a supplementary list of ‘shadow’ players and then issued invitations to each candidate until the full team had been assembled.

It meant for the first time that no players were press-ganged into representative football against their will and ensured only those with ambition to represent went on tour.

Group 2 have made the unprecedented step of inviting the entire coaching and support team to continue their roles in 2011 and the re-appointment of Denham and Leaney is almost certain to have the remainder of the management structure in place within days.

The team has earned a bye for round one of the championships and will face old rivals Group 3 in the second round clash on Saturday, June 4, at a venue to be decided – possibly an inland centre such as Narrabri.

Success would mean progressing to a semi final on June 18, with the championship grand final set down for June 25.

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