Brothers break into coach ranks
TWO rookie coaches with an estimated 600-plus games of rugby league playing experience between them will guide Grafton Rhinos’ reserve grade side in 2010.
Brothers Mark and Adam Shiels, who have previously been members of the club’s committee, have been given the nod to take the McKittrick Park hotseat vacated by Scott Kilduff, who returns to a playing role .
The Rhinos board appointed the dual player/ coaches after the club finished 12th in the 14-team Northern Rivers League Reserve Grade competition in 2009.
But that was without key playmaker Adam, who spent 12 months on the sidelines with a knee reconstruction.
Former hooker Mark, 36, will shift his weary body to the back of the scrum this season in what could be his last campaign on the field.
He is hoping to wind up his colourful Group 1, 2 and 3 playing career with an elusive premiership.
“My goal is to win a grand final. I have played in a couple but never won one,” he said.
“Hopefully if I stay injury-free I can play again next year, if not I will keep coaching.
“It’s definitely something that I want to get in to.”
Mark hopes the brothers will bring a ‘good happy medium’ to the coaching role and have already won the respect of the club’s playing stocks.
The pair describe themselves as ‘disciplined but easy and approachable’.
“My brother and I have been involved in the Rhinos since they formed (in 2008),” Mark said.
“I think we have both got the level of respect out of all the players in the group – I have worn the captain’s hat before.
“It should be no different to what I have done in the past.”
The duo’s reputation among the league community is already making waves with several players expressing interest to join the Rhino revolution.
The club’s top grade side finished seventh last season but the appointment of the Shiels brothers could have a flow-on affect with the addition of key troops.
“We have played a lot of football together and played in key positions so we know how each other runs things,” Adam said.
“And we are both in our 30s so we have got a lot of knowledge.
“If we won a grand final (as coaches) that would be right up there.”
Training kicks off on January 12 at 6pm.