Heron takes on new labour of love
RUGBY LEAGUE: A passion for rugby league, and a determination to watch women grow in the sport was all Darrin Heron needed to put his hand up to coach the Grafton Ghosts league tag side this season.
With Joel Moss and Rhys Hambly stepping back from their roles as co-coaches, Heron was approached by Ghosts president Gary Gillespie and club captain Elle Moss.
Heron had managed the side with Moss last season, and after getting approval from home he jumped at the opportunity.
"There was no real hesitation, I had to ask the wife first and she was all for it, so why not take it on,” he said.
"I just love football in general, Mossy asked me to be the manager last year which at the time I thought was an honour.
"To be asked by one of my former players to be his manager, that was massive for me.
"As the season went on I got to know these girls a lot better, we formed those bonds.”
In an effort to get a jump start on the season Heron kick-started his pre-season with the girls last week, with two-and-a-half months left until the Group 2 Glyde Family Trophy season kicks off.
It was a successful start for the side, with more than half the team turning up ready to listen and learn.
"The best thing about the girls is they are willing to learn,” Heron said. "They are not blocked up and pig-headed like these blokes who know everything, the girls they just absorb everything in.
"We have got half the team back from last year, and hopefully whoever we pick up will join that fold quickly.”
The Ghosts bowed out in the preliminary final against Sawtell last year in what was their inaugural season on the field.
While he has made sure his team understands the success of last season, Heron said there is no immediate pressure to go one better just yet.
"We just want to take each game as it is and play the opposition in front of us,” he said.
"We need to work on our defence, that is one of the key areas for us. We know we have got a good attack, scoring points was not a problem for us. It's about stopping those good teams from scoring against us.
"There is plenty of time to work with the team, I want us to know our structures and for people to know their role in this team.
"If everyone gets in and does their job on the field, it makes it so much easier on the field.”
It will be a family affair for the Ghosts league tag side with Heron's daughter Mekeely acting as one of the side's main playmakers along with leader Elle Moss.
Fellow senior players Nadine Greenhalgh, Murphy Thompson and Kate Butcherine have also signed up for the season already.
The Ghosts' under-18s returned to pre-season last week while the club's two senior men's sides, coached by the Wicks brothers, Danny and Brett, kickstart their pre-season this Thursday, January 31.