CROSSING THE LINE: Lower Clarence Magpie Anthony Hickling going in for a try in an NRRRL match between the Lower Clarence and Evans Head Bombers at Yamba Oval in 2013. Photo: Debrah Novak
CROSSING THE LINE: Lower Clarence Magpie Anthony Hickling going in for a try in an NRRRL match between the Lower Clarence and Evans Head Bombers at Yamba Oval in 2013. Photo: Debrah Novak

Magpies faithful to lead reserve grade resurgence

RUGBY LEAGUE: The Lower Clarence Magpies placed “the final piece of the coaching jigsaw puzzle” this week with the announcement of their new reserve grade co-coaches.

Magpies president John Elisaia was excited to name club stalwart Anthony Hickling alongside former club junior and senior star Josh Horan as co-leaders for the 2020 NRRRL reserve grade season.

Elisaia is firmly behind Hickling, who has committed a lot to the club over his long tenure.

“Anthony has been with the Magpies since 2002 where he has been part of the club’s success as a member of the premiership side in 2009 while also continuing to represent the club through some of its darkest years,” Elisaia said.

“A tough old school player with a love of the black and white, Anthony has previously coached a Magpies Reserve grade squad to the finals.”

As Elisaia aims to get the club back to fighting form, Hickling holds a strong understanding of what will be required in the role.

“He understands the importance of a strong and competitive reserve grade squad and how they can contribute to the success of the first grade outfit,” Elisaia said.

“We believe the respect held for Anthony’s tough and uncompromising style of play on the field and his knowledge of the game will hold him in good stead with the 2020 squad.”

Josh Horan muscle up in defence during the NRRRL reserve grade clash between Lower Clarence Magpies and Northern United at Yamba League Field last year. Photo: Belinda Martyn.
Josh Horan muscle up in defence during the NRRRL reserve grade clash between Lower Clarence Magpies and Northern United at Yamba League Field last year. Photo: Belinda Martyn.

Horan’s time with the club also dates back a long way and Elisaia believes he will work well alongside Hickling.

“Josh is another player who has represented the Magpies with pride in the past and like Anthony, he has seen the highs and many lows that the club has endured over the past decade,” Elisaia said.

“Once a local junior, Josh only returned to the Magpies a couple of years ago and despite being an age where most no longer play, Josh continued to prove to be a tough and tireless workaholic on the field with stats that regularly led the way for the clubs seniors.”

Elisaia believes Horan can lead by example alongside a tough reserve grade side.

“It is Josh’s weekly commitment to his teammates and the club that we believe provides the perfect balance to build a positive partnership for our reserve grade coaches to lay the foundations for competitive and committed squad into the future,” Elisaia said.

With all four coaching roles filled by strong leaders, the Magpies will now look to form the squads that will take them back to the formidable force they once were.



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