EXCLUSIVE: New Magpies coach to Press for return to glory
RUGBY LEAGUE: The Lower Clarence Magpies announced their new first grade coach last week with experienced figure Carl Press set to lead the side into the 2020 season.
Boasting a wealth of knowledge, both as a player and a coach, Press has been involved in the sport for most of his life and Magpies president John Elisaia believes he is the right man for the job.
"Carl has a great understanding of the struggles of many rugby league clubs throughout the country rugby league areas of NSW," Elisaia said.
"He has a wealth of experience in helping clubs rebuild from scratch."
Press is looking to rebuild the first grade side after they failed to field a side for the latter half of the NRRRL season.
"My plan is to get some of the locals that went elsewhere to come back," Press said.
"It's going to be fun, I haven't met too many of the players yet."
Press has developed a deep love for the game after an involvement in over 200 first grade games in the Hunter Valley region as well as some NRL and junior international experience.
"Carl was part of the Newcastle Knights in 1988 and 1989 and the Australian under-19s development squad with Jeff Toovey, Michael Hancock, Craig Teevan, Derek McVey," Elisaia said.
"His passion for the game also extends off the field after becoming a part of the development of the game in many country regions, including a stint with the Greater Northern Coaching Academy.
"In 2011 Carl was appointed to the NSW Country Rugby League coaching education panel."
Press has been in the Clarence Valley for 12 months after a move to Maclean from Uralla where he runs his own business.
"He became involved with the club in 2019 as a part-time
first-aid officer and was impressed by the youth system at the club," Elisaia said.
Press was seen scoping out the club's youth talent during the 2019 season and is looking to transition some of them into the senior squad in 2020.
"I've kept an eye on some of the under-18s. There's a really good crop coming through in the under-16s and below as well. I watched the junior finals and I was very impressed," he said.
"I had meetings with all the under-18s coming up. You can't expect they'll be ready for senior football straightaway but we'll be working with the first grade guys doing lots of tackling work to get them used to the physicality."
Press is also looking forward to games at the upgraded home facility in Yamba.
"They've got a good stadium sorted now. That will be a big drawcard at the club," he said.
Press aims to kick off the pre-season in mid to late January.
"Most guys in the area are playing touch or other summer sport, so they're already reasonably fit," he said.
"I touched base with a few of the self-motivated players who I've got on a gym program already."
Press is also dealing with the possibility he could coach the Magpies against his sons who are likely to be playing in the NRRRL.
"They're looking at teams like Cudgen, that'd be pretty strange," he said.
Elisaia is looking forward to a new chapter at the club.
"As the junior and senior Magpies look forward to the completion of the new club rooms, we look forward to moving forward into the new decade with Carl," Elisaia said.