IN GOOD STEAD: Former South Grafton Rebels president Ray Taunton (right) is handing over the Rebels reigns to incoming Brad Rodda after rebuilding the Rebels from perennial cellar-dwellers to back-to-back Group 2 champions.
IN GOOD STEAD: Former South Grafton Rebels president Ray Taunton (right) is handing over the Rebels reigns to incoming Brad Rodda after rebuilding the Rebels from perennial cellar-dwellers to back-to-back Group 2 champions. Debrah Novak

Rebels call on fresh faces to maintain winning formula

RUGBY LEAGUE: It has been a long and tough four years for outgoing South Grafton Rebels' president Ray Taunton but he will tell you it was all worth it.

Taunton has seen the proud rugby league club from its darkest depths with only a reserve grade team on the park in 2011 to back-to-back premierships on home soil in 2015 and 2016.

Starting with a foundation first grade player roster including captain Grant Stevens and now coach Ron Gordon, Taunton had a five year plan to reach a grand final.

In the four years since he along with the integral support of vice-president John Matthews and a loyal committee have already managed to deliver on that plan two-fold.

But with work commitments forcing the former president to move out of town he has had to hand over the reins - a task that was not so easy for the die-hard Rebel.

"I am very happy over the four years to see the improvement and see the club rise from the bottom of the league," Taunton said. "I couldn't be any happier with where we got the Rebels to.

Will South Grafton Rebels win a third straight Group 2 title in 2017?

This poll ended on 15 August 2017.

Current Results

Yes - Nothing can stop the Rebels juggernaut at the moment. Let the good times roll.

36%

Maybe - A legacy has started, but the new committee must not drop the ball.

16%

I don't think so - Taunton and Matthews masterminded two premierships. A third, without them, would be a stretch.

10%

No - Every dog has his day. The Rebels are done.

36%

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

"It is certainly a tough time for me because I have made so many great friends in the club from the players through to the committee.

"We have got the support of the community and all the players are on board moving in to the future."

 

FIVE YEAR PLAN: Ray Taunton brought Grant Stevens to the club with a five year goal to win a Premiership. They did it in three years, twice by four.
FIVE YEAR PLAN: Ray Taunton brought Grant Stevens to the club with a five year goal to win a Premiership. They did it in three years, twice by four. JoJo Newby

Long standing Rebels supporter and club man Brad Rodda is set to take the reins from the outgoing Taunton along with a fresh-faced executive for the 2017 season.

Due to health concerns John Matthews has had to take a step back from his position as vice-president but will still remain involved with the club which sees Janita Cooper step into the second-in-command role.

Rebels' long-standing trainer Terry Power has put his hand up for the secretary position while Jodie Rigg will step into the treasurer's role.

MEANS SO MUCH: South Grafton Rebels manager Terry Power embraces coach Dallas Waters after Sunday’s 46-18 Group 2 grand final win at McKittrick Park.
MEANS SO MUCH: South Grafton Rebels manager Terry Power embraces coach Dallas Waters after Sunday’s 46-18 Group 2 grand final win at McKittrick Park. Debrah Novak

For Cooper, who was the president of the Rebels from 2006-2007, the return to an executive role came to ensure the club continued in the positive stead in which Taunton and Matthews were leaving it.

"I didn't want to see the club fall into the same position it was in four years ago," she said.

"The former committee have put so many tireless hours into building the club back up I decided I would put my hand up to keep that going."

Cooper said one of her focusses and one shared by the entire new committee was to continue the family feel at the Rebels.

With a particular focus on the kids and continuing to expand the Rebels' junior program the new committee is hoping to put the club in a position of a prosperous future.

"I want to just keep the family atmosphere at the club and to ensure there is a Rebels future for the kids in the Clarence," Cooper said.

"There needs to be a focus on the juniors because without them we don't have a future as a club. The juniors become our first graders."

Premiership winning coach Ronnie Gordon will continue his position at the helm of first grade for the 2017 season but coaching positions remain open for reserve grade and under 18s with the club asking for expressions of interest.

TIMELINE OF REBELS RESURRECTION UNDER PRESIDENT RAY TAUNTON



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