EXCLUSIVE: Bell to ring in new era of dominance with Rebels
RUGBY LEAGUE: Last year the South Grafton Rebels showed glimpses of brilliance but with premiership winner Roy Bell returning to take the reigns, the future looks bright.
Making the move south from Casino where he captain coached the Cougars to a NRRRL preliminary final this year, Bell was a premiership winner in South Grafton in 2015 and is eager to take charge.
Check out our interview with Roy Bell below:
"I'm really excited to come down and coach the Rebels. They're a very proud and community minded club," Bell said.
"Coming back after the grand final win in 2015, that was very special and one of the highlights of my career. I love the area, I love the people and I feel very privileged to get the opportunity to coach.
"There's been a bit of a buzz around town with people coming up and congratulating me on the job. I'm so honoured and the history speaks for itself."
The former South Sydney Rabbitohs winger is looking to emulate the fierce reputation the Rebels have built in recent years.
"I'm definitely here to find success, I'm not just here to make up the numbers. The first priority is not winning, but getting the club in a good position," he said.
"I want to make sure all the locals are on board and that the community has an input. At the end of the day all of our support comes from the community so that's really important.
Having played all his life, Bell has seen a number of influences on his coaching approach.
"I've been around footy my whole life. I grew up in Tabulum and my older brothers played for the Tabulum Turtle Divers where my dad was the coach for 20 plus years," he said.
But one former Rebels coach has been his biggest inspiration moving forward.
"In the last few years I've followed Dallas Waters around a bit. I love his view on coaching, it's not all about footy, it's about good people an the club. That's what makes a good player and a good team, you can't just be great on the field, you have to be great off it too," he said.
"I came down and actually watched a few of the games towards the back end of last season. I don't think they were far off aside from a few little tweaks here and there but they have the squad to go all the way this year."
Bell is looking to take a home-grown approach but is open to brining a Casino Cougar or two down south.
"My focus is developing local guys rather than getting a whole bunch of great players in from outside of town. We might get one or two guys in but we'll focus on our own talent," he said.
"There are some really talented young guys that have been in the squad or are on the fringe.
"Unless they're willing to move down here it's a bit much to ask. If some of the guys from Casino were keen to come I'd definitely welcome them with open arms but we're still sitting down negotiating with a few players."
"The focus for now is to re-sign most of last year's squad and start planning for the season ahead."
Rebels club president, Brendan Breitnauer was adamant Bell is the right man for the job.
"We welcome him with open arms. He'll bring a lot of experience to the club and he's got a widely regarded respect in the community," Breitnauer said.
"I think he'll be able to lure some of the guys that have moved on back."
The Rebels have also managed to hold on to their reserves coach from last year as well as locking in a top leader for the under-18s.
"Josh Nagle will be back and Ronnie Gordon will stick with the under-18s. The coaching staff that we've got throughout the club is very experienced and I think they'll jell well together," he said.
"It's not all about first grade, it's about building the club as a whole and getting the community on board an we're really looking forward to next year."
South Grafton were on their way back to their best last year with all grades proving to be very competitive across the grades and Breitnauer believes they have the ability to go even further in 2020.
"I think after last year with all four grades into the second round of finals, injury took its toll late in the season but we've got a great base to build off," he said.
While success is desired, Breitnauer is aiming for a step up in mentality at the club that could take them to new heights.
"Overall, he club will go ahead stronger than ever and we'll aim to make professionalism our main focus," he said.