Matt Donovan playing for Coffs Harbour in Group 2 rugby league competition in 2011.
Matt Donovan playing for Coffs Harbour in Group 2 rugby league competition in 2011. FILE

Mr Magic out for a Magpie farewell

RUGBY league icon Matt 'Mr Magic' Donovan has scotched retirement rumours and will play on another season.

The 40-year-old football magician has linked up with Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo and makes his maiden appearance in the famous black and white livery at tomorrow night's Group 2 Sevens series at BCU International Stadium.

It's believed new Magpie coach Brandon Costin was looking for a steadying influence to wear the No.6 jumper and club president Josh White confirms the player many claim is the best-ever produced in Group 2, was signed after lengthy negotiations.

"There has been speculation around for a while that he may be coming to us but once he attended training to meet the boys, the deal was formalised and Matt's now officially on board," he said.

"And I can confirm he's likely to be five-eighth despite playing much of his football in the centres.

"There aren't many football brains around like his and he's going to be the link man that Brandon has been looking for from the start."

After debuting with Macksville and winning a first grade title in that maiden season, Donovan went on to captain-coach Orara Valley to an extra-time premiership victory in 1997 when he famously scored five tries down the left hand side at Advocate Park.

Playing under Darryl Fisher he won another title with the Axemen in 2008 before switching to Coffs Harbour and playing in the losing grand final side (to Port Macquarie) in 2010.

White said Donovan's record of participating in deciders at every club where he's hung out his shingle has been noted and the aim is now to maintain the 100 per cent boast.

In a further boost to the Bellingen season, strong-running backline star Matt Bush is back from Western Australia and reports have him raring to go.  



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