Rebel charges into Ghosts haunt
IN A move that could spark rugby league warfare, former Rebel Mark Hooklyn has opted for a colour change after more than two decades sporting the red and white of South Grafton.
The 45-year-old has been handed the reins of the Grafton Ghosts’ reserve grade side after a bitter separation from the club he once loved.
A senior football merger between the Rebels and Grafton Rhinos sparked a divide that now spans the width of the Clarence River.
And Ghosts boss Col Speed moved quick to recruit the experienced tactician among his coaching staff.
“I played and coached over there (the Rebels) for 20 years,” Hooklyn said.
“I’m disgusted with what happened. I have got no time for the club now.
“It was not particularly hard the move of clubs because my club is no longer there.”
After being told he was not wanted at the Rhinos in a coaching position post-merger, Hooklyn decided to jump ship.
Not that the move has been easy.
“It does feel a bit unusual to be in a Grafton Ghosts jumper,” he said.
“Most of the South Grafton supporters are very supportive of my move though.”
Hooklyn is confident he can add to the one and only premiership crown – a low-key title in Western Australia - he claimed during his playing days, which ended in 1999.
“It would be very satisfying (to win a grand final),” Hooklyn said.
“I was very disappointed not to have achieved that as a player with the Rebels.”
He admits to bringing ‘years of experience’ to the youthful side.
“A lot of young fellas at the club are sons of guys that I played with,” he said.
“I am very confident we will have a good season.
“The structure that Col Speed has got in place at the moment should work very well.
“I believe I can contribute and have the reserve grade team performing to their expectations.”
The Ghosts tackle the Orara Axemen in all three grades on March 13 in their first pre-season hit-out before the season kicks off.
The club trains Tuesday and Thursday nights and welcomes anyone interested to attend or contact Mark on 0428 661 284.