LEADING BY EXAMPLE: Former Grafton Ghosts captain-coach Ryan Farrell, former Ghosts coach Col Speed and former South Grafton Rebels coach Dallas Waters are among the nominees for Clarence Valley Dream Team of the Decade coach. Photos: Debrah Novak, Gary Nichols
LEADING BY EXAMPLE: Former Grafton Ghosts captain-coach Ryan Farrell, former Ghosts coach Col Speed and former South Grafton Rebels coach Dallas Waters are among the nominees for Clarence Valley Dream Team of the Decade coach. Photos: Debrah Novak, Gary Nichols

COACH: Vote for your Dream Team leader among men

The Daily Examiner is compiling the Clarence Valley Rugby League Team of the Decade

 

• Each position is put to an online reader poll

• Players in the poll come from our South Grafton Rebels, Grafton Ghosts and Lower Clarence Magpies teams of the decade

Fullbacks, wingers, centres, halves, back rowers and front rowers have all been decided

• This leaves just one all-important position to decide...

 

JUST when you thought voting for The Daily Examiner Clarence Valley Dream Team of the Decade was over, there is still one crucial position left to fill.

You didn't think we would forget the coach did you?

One of the most important members of a side, the coach pulls the strings and creates the strategy that can make or break even the best sides.

They might be a fan with an extensive knowledge, a former player with a deep insight into the game or even a player that can dictate the game from on the field.

There are a number of ways to lead a team, and if there's one thing for certain, it's that man management is key to success.

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Our Clarence clubs have won seven premierships (eight if you count the Lower Clarence Magpies in 2009) across two competitions over the last 10 years and there have been some real masters behind that success.

 

Dallas Waters coached South Grafton Rebels to Group 2 premiership glory in 2015. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner
Dallas Waters coached South Grafton Rebels to Group 2 premiership glory in 2015. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner

 

For the Magpies, former captain-coach DALLAS WATERS was born to lead.

Helping the Lower Clarence club to the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League premiership in 2009 was a defining moment in his career, setting him on the path to more success.

Taking the reigns of the South Grafton Rebels after the 2013 season, Waters started to rebuild the side and improve the culture at McKittrick Park, finishing one spot outside the 2014 Group 2 finals.

With unfinished business he committed to the 2015 season and assembled a champion side, who first stunned their crossriver rivals Grafton Ghosts with a rare win at Frank McGuren Field, before going from strength to strength and win the club's first top grade premiership in 40 years with a 46 to 18 victory over the Ghosts in front of their home fans at McKittrick Park.

 

Rebels coach Ron Gordon at the Group 2 grand final between the South Grafton Rebels and the Grafton Ghosts at McKittrick Park South Grafton on Sunday, 11th September, 2016.
Rebels coach Ron Gordon at the Group 2 grand final between the South Grafton Rebels and the Grafton Ghosts at McKittrick Park South Grafton on Sunday, 11th September, 2016.

After the 2015 season Waters handed the reins over to RON GORDON kept South Grafton's spirits high to successfully defend their title in 2016.

Gordon may not have had the same playing roster as Waters, but he was able to bring out the best of a mostly homegrown side to rise to the same lofty heights as the previous season, defeating the Ghosts 26 to 12 in another home ground grand final victory.

For the Grafton Ghosts, five premierships in 10 years shows they have been doing something very right.

 

IN COMMAND: Col Speed at a pre-season training session with the Orara Valley Axemen in 2019.
IN COMMAND: Col Speed at a pre-season training session with the Orara Valley Axemen in 2019.

 

COL SPEED was key in Grafton's back-to-back NRRRL premierships and Clayton Cups in 2010 and 2011, getting the best out of a young side including an emerging Anthony Don and Danny Wicks.

Speed went on to coach a number of other clubs including Coffs Harbour Comets and Orara Valley Axemen. With son Elliot Speed bursting onto the scene in under-18s, Col had been linked back to the Ghosts in 2020 until the club was one of several Group 2 sides to withdraw from this season.

 

Former Grafton Ghosts captain-coach Ryan Farrell
Former Grafton Ghosts captain-coach Ryan Farrell

 

Picking up where Col let off was captain-coach extroadinaire RYAN FARRELL.

Farrell may have lost his first grand-final in charge after going down 27-26 to Murwillumbah Mustangs in 2012, but he made up for it with a Group 2 title in 2014, defeating Coffs Haarbour Comets 18-16 in extra time.

A fearless leader, Farrell helped craft the next dominant generation of Ghosts we are now seeing tear up the Group 2 competition today.

 

Former Ghosts captain-coach Danny Wicks during the Clarence Valley Sports Awards with MC Katie Brown.
Former Ghosts captain-coach Danny Wicks during the Clarence Valley Sports Awards with MC Katie Brown.

 

Rounding out the list is Ghosts junior and former NRL player DANNY WICKS.

Wicks' professional career may not have gone entirely to plan, but after a successful return with the Parramatta Eels the path led back to Grafton where he would become a great mentor and a goliath in bush footy.

It's clear to see how respected he is by his teammates at Frank McGuren Field, expecting nothing but the best from his group.

Wicks hung up the boots at the end of 2019 after adding two Group 2 premierships in 2017 and 2019 and another Clayton Cup to the trophy cabinet.

We're not sure if we will ever see his mix of leadership and raw ability around these parts again but his legacy will always live on in Grafton.

With one last decision to make, it's time to vote for your leader among men to guide the Clarence Valley Dream Team of the Decade home before the final squad is announced next Saturday.

To cast your vote, pick from the options in the poll below.

Who should be the coach of the Clarence Valley Dream Team of the Decade?

This poll ended on 17 July 2020.

Current Results

Dallas Waters, Lower Clarence Magpies/South Grafton Rebels

13%

Col Speed, Grafton Ghosts

32%

Ryan Farrell, Grafton Ghosts

27%

Danny Wicks, Grafton Ghosts

16%

Ron Gordon, South Grafton Rebels

9%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.



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