Richie Fa'aoso offloads as he is tackled by Ethan Lowe to set up the Jamie Lyon try duringa 2013 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Manly Sea Eagles at 1300SMILES Stadium in Townsville.
Richie Fa'aoso offloads as he is tackled by Ethan Lowe to set up the Jamie Lyon try duringa 2013 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Manly Sea Eagles at 1300SMILES Stadium in Townsville. COLIN WHELAN/AAP

LEAGUE: Ghosts make play for NRL veteran

RUGBY LEAGUE: Grafton Ghosts captain-coach Danny Wicks has admitted the club is at long odds to secure the services of fellow former NRL player Richie Fa'aoso.

Fa'aoso and Wicks spent time together at the Parramatta Eels after both players shocked the sport with career resurgences during the 2015 season.

The front-rower, who had stints at six different NRL clubs, was spotted during a couple of Ghosts pre-season training sessions last month.

While it is understood the Ghosts have applied to clear Fa'aoso, Wicks believes it is unlikely to come through.

"I don't think he is going to get a clearance, I don't think the NRL will do it,” Wicks said.

"We were looking a bit skinny on numbers at one stage during the pre-season and he was going to help us out if we needed it, but we're in a good position now.”

Danny Wicks aims to put Dylan Collett through a hole in the defensive line during the Group 2 first round Battle of the River clash between the South Grafton Rebels and Grafton Ghosts at McKittrick Park.
Danny Wicks aims to put Dylan Collett through a hole in the defensive line during the Group 2 first round Battle of the River clash between the South Grafton Rebels and Grafton Ghosts at McKittrick Park. Matthew Elkerton

Fa'aoso broke his neck twice during his career, but Wicks said he would have been fine to play in Group 2.

"Here he is not going to be out of condition, he would have been sweet,” he said. "He was one of the hardest hitters in the NRL, and I would have hated to see what he could do in Group 2.”

The Ghosts are far from having a problem in the forwards this season with the reigning premiers controlling the middle third with ease in the side's 58 to 6 win over South Grafton Rebels in the opening round local derby on Sunday.

And with regular first graders Brett Wicks and Tim Tilse aiming to push their way back into the top grade from the reserve grade side, Wicks said he has a "good headache” working out his playing roster.

"(Richie) offered to help if we needed it, but I think we are all right now,” Wicks said.

It is understood the Ghosts are not the only Clarence Valley club struggling to get a clearance from the Eels with South Grafton Rebels hopeful of getting boom rookie fullback Caleb Williams playing in red and white this season.

Once touted as the next Greg Inglis, the Yamba product played in the Gold Coast Titans development system before moving to North Queensland and then the Eels.

With Williams yet to sign on with the Rebels, Woolgoolga recruit Izack Smidt is getting first crack at the fullback role and impressed his coach Ron Gordon in the opening round.



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