Football, family and club: Heron leaves his stamp on Magpies
FROM THE MAGPIES NEST
Darrin Heron is a man for all seasons but particularly a football season. After giving great service to the Lower Clarence Junior Rugby League, he put his hand up to take over the reins of the senior club as its president. Not only that, he will also coach the Under 18's and hopes to emulate the success of 1997 when he coached them to a premiership.
Why would anyone take on this task when the club has finished at the bottom of the table in the last two years? His answer is simple.
"I really love football, I love coaching and I want to help improve both the individual and the team as a whole".
Its already obvious things are on the improve at Lower Clarence with the appointment of a well-credentialled coach, a hard working committee and numbers at training that bring a smile to all the stalwarts of the club.
Darrin is very much a family man and wants to see the club develop young players and make it so attractive that young men want to come and play for Lower. Whenever you see Darrin, whether it be at training or at committee meetings or selling raffle tickets of a Saturday morning his family is not far away.
At a press conference recently before the All Stars and Indigenous game, Greg Inglis said "Footy, family and culture are the things I believe in. It's who I am". He must have been speaking to Darrin earlier that day because that is exactly how Darrin feels. With so many indigenous players in the area, they have to believe they belong, that Lower Clarence is their tribe. Darrin is a real believer of that concept.
Darrin has fond memories of 1984 when he played in the Under 18's and the Magpies had all three sides in the grand final. He would love to emulate those days and it starts now.
While still a teenager he went down and spent time with Penrith Panthers but his NRL ambitions were cut short by a debilitating achilles tendon injury from which he never fully recovered. If you look at him now at training you might see signs of that fleet footed athlete (you have to look quite hard mind) but what you will see is the smiles and enthusiasm he brings to the players.
He looks back fondly on some of the greats who put Magpies at the top, people like John Brown and Ross McPherson. They helped him in his younger days and he would like to leave a similar impression.
NRL welfare officer Dean Withers said recently "It's about making a real difference in the community". Darrin is already making that difference.