Robert Gaeta, Gary Gillespie and Bob Cartmill in front of their replica 84 Johnson Bathurst Falcon - on their way to Bathurst this weekend.
Robert Gaeta, Gary Gillespie and Bob Cartmill in front of their replica 84 Johnson Bathurst Falcon - on their way to Bathurst this weekend. Adam Hourigan

Ghosts welcome new president at AGM

RUGBY LEAGUE: The Grafton Ghosts have welcomed a familiar face to the club's top job, with Gary Gillespie taking on the presidency after the resignation of Joe Kinnane at the club's AGM on Monday night.

After being involved with the club for more than 25 years, including a stint as vice-president during the 1990s, and as president of the Grafton Ghosts Junior Rugby League club, Gillespie said he was proud to be president.

"I had been considering (taking on the job) and I was asked by several people whether I would do it,” he said.

"I've been involved with the Ghosts for more than a quarter of a century and I'm proud of that.

"I think it's all about bettering young people in the community and the game and I think it's important that we have something for young people to partake in.

"Generally I want to keep up our good form on the field and strengthen our lower grades and continue in that vein.

"I'm extremely proud of the people we've got playing for us. We've got a lot of local juniors in the club and some of those guys were juniors when I was the president of the juniors so it's great to see them in the next level.”

The first challenge the club will face under Gillespie's tenure is its planned move from Group 2 to the NRRRL competition, with its application to return to the NRRRL confirmed at the AGM.

"It'll be an uphill battle but it's a battle that's got to be fought I believe,” he said.

"We've put ourselves out there that we'd like to play in the NRRRL next season.

"We would get more games and the boys like playing more football and with more games available it's better for players and spectators and sponsors and without those three things you don't have a football club and without clubs you don't have rugby league.

"Our players and the club want more games of football, there's less (sic) games in Group 2 than NRRRL, and it's as simple as that.”

The application will be considered at the NRRRL AGMon November 12, and the Group 2 AGM on November 14.

"NRRRL will have to approve us, and Group 2 will have to allow us to go, and if they both say yes it's a done deal, but if one say yes and another say no, that's when it becomes a fight,” Gillespie said.

"The application has been made, so time will tell.”

The Grafton Ghosts have enjoyed a long period of success, celebrating five premierships since 2002 and taking out the prestigious Clayton Cup, awarded to the best team each year in the Country Rugby League since 1937, three times in 2010, 2011 and 2017.

"We have been the most successful side in Country Rugby League, no one else has come close in last decade,” Gillespie said.

"That is a legacy that any club in the country would want. The club is in a good position, financially we're in a good position, we just need to keep that going.

"We want to create a better place and a more welcoming place for everyone and be family orientated overall.

"That's what we want and we want to make it a good place to be.”

Gillespie said the Grafton Ghosts will host a public meeting at the GDSC on Wednesday November 21 at 6.30pm to allow locals to have their say and ask questions of the new committee.

"Everyone's invited, from supporters and sponsors to rugby league lovers, and it's a chance for them to have their say and ask us questions,” he said.

"Hopefully we can get a bit of spirit there and hear from people who can help the club.

"It's the little things that lighten the load for everyone.”

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$6000 grant to improve Men's Shed's facilities

$6000 grant to improve Men's Shed's facilities

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