CURTHOY'S CALL: Tigers get new bite for 2018
AUSSIE RULES: Grafton Tigers have hit the ground running ahead of the AFL North Coast 2018 season, and with a new leader at the helm will be aiming to build on their efforts last season.
The Tigers secured its first senior football win in more than two seasons last year, and showed plenty of fight in a host of tight contests across the season.
The growing success of the black and yellow brigade is not going unnoticed around the AFL North Coast competition, and it is something that excites club president James Hourigan.
And with a brand new coach ready to take the reins for season 2018, it is only looking to get better for the Tigers.
Former Gold Coast regular Chris Curthoys, who played a sporadic handful of games for Grafton in 2017, was quick to put his hand up for the role after Tigers' 'Mr Footy' Luke Stanford stood down from the role.
Stanford, who is currently finishing off a university degree while also delivering the AFL Auskick junior program across the North Coast, will stay on with the club as secretary and a player.
"Luke just had too much on his plate, and with a young family as well he has to put them first,” Hourigan said. "When he came to me about stepping down from coaching, the first thing I said to him was "you can't do it all”.
"Luckily Chris said he was more than happy to put the hand up, and we started the process to get him in straight away. He is keen as mustard to lead the Tigers.”
Curthoys impressed many in his few appearances for the Tigers last season after moving to a property at Coutts Crossing with his wife. The pair still had business interests in Brisbane, forcing the player to spliut his time between the places.
But with the business in the process of moving operations to the Valley, Hourigan is confident Curthoys will become part of the furniture at Grafton this year.
"This is going to be great for our club. (Curthoys) has just got a wealth of footy knowledge and really a different view of the game and approach to coaching,” he said.
"He has a real no mess sort of attitude and is focussed on skills and development. Chris is not big on running for running's sake - if you're going to be running you may as well have a ball in your hands and know how to use it.”
The Tigers have been back at pre-season for a fortnight now and with numbers consistently reaching the 17-20 mark, Hourigan said there is a good feeling around the club.
"Luke and the boys really did the ground work for us last year, and now we just need to capitalise on that,” he said.