HEAD Shark Tony Pascoe is chasing a ‘three-peat’ after his reappointment as head coach of VB Gold Group 2 first grade premiers Port Macquarie.
Before his side downed Coffs Harbour in the rugby league season decider at Advocate Park on September 12, Pascoe had already proved a thorn in the proverbial for northern clubs when he captured his first local title against Sawtell in 2006.
He’ll now attempt to equal the record of Paul Davis (Macksville 2003-04-05) as the only post-war coach to win three top grade titles.
Pascoe is known for his extraordinary passion and intensive approach to the game of rugby league.
Only an NRL coach would do as much background research on what makes his rivals tick and the stresses that sort of preparation brings can take a mighty toll.
Port official Les Murphy reveals there was no certainty Pascoe would have been back at the helm.
“Tony was considering retiring but the chance to win back-to-back titles was the driving force behind his decision to coach again,” Murphy said.
“After a bit of time to think it through, Tony and the club committee are confident of again being major contenders next year.
“No doubt taking the title of reigning premiers into 2011 adds a bit of pressure but we feel we have the players and staff to win again.”
The Sharks have no players retiring and while there’ll be no active recruiting as such, Murphy said a new front rower and a centre had entered the local workforce and discussions had begun to entice them to the club.
“Long-serving Sharks player and 2009 reserve grade premiership member Mark Temple will handle the reggies while last season’s junior coach Phill Trembath has also been reappointed,” Murphy said.
“With Tony, Mark and Phill now locked away we have great staff in charge of the club.”
Group 2 has circulated a provisional draw which gives the Sharks a bye on March 20 in official trials before travelling to Kempsey to play the Mustangs in the final pipe-opener.
Then it’s a promoter’s dream with Port hosting the grand final replay with Coffs Harbour to kick off the new season on the weekend of April 2-3.
“With the 2011 sponsorship drive high on our priority list, along with running the NRL trial at Hastings Regional Stadium on February 19 between Penrith Panthers and Newcastle Knights, we will be finalising our own trials over the next few weeks,” Murphy said.
“We are committed to playing Wauchope for the Jack Kirkman Shield.
“We will also sit down with Port City Breakers, the current Group 3 premiers, to decide if the two champion clubs in the town can arrange another match for charity as we did earlier this year.”