Magpies' long distance star rugby league star
FOR nearly every game and nearly every training session, William Lockwood makes the sacrifice of a six-hour round trip from Kempsey to aid the cause of the Lower Clarence Magpies.
And to help out a mate.
“Dallas (Waters, captain-coach of the Magpies) and I went to England together and we would always catch-up at the Aboriginal (Rugby League) Knockout,” he said.
“We would meet up there and bang our heads together.
“He would always be on to me about coming up and playing for the Magpies.”
Lockwood will once again commute along the Pacific Highway tomorrow to help his new team-mates battle Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League (NRRRL) pacesetters, the Mullumbimby Giants, in a Mother's Day clash at the Yamba Sports Complex.
A former Group Two player with Port Macquarie and Macleay Valley, Lockwood, 31, only made up his mind to travel north to play his football when Waters made the drive south and showed up on Lockwood's Kempsey doorstep.
“I've always been in his ear about coming up,” Waters said.
“So I went down and knocked on his door.”
Waters got his man and the Magpies gained an experienced five-eighth who has won three Group Two grand finals and is looking to add a fourth in the black and white colours.
“It's a good club for me ... and they're a bunch of good blokes,” Lockwood said.
“The forwards are doing a great job and we will look to push teams all the way.”
Lockwood said he was adjusting well to the new environment of the NRRRL but admitted his game still needed fine tuning before he hit his peak.
“It's been tough, it's a bit faster than Group Two,” he said.
“It's a good experience to be playing (NRRRL) ... it keeps you on your toes.
“My kicking game was struggling in the first game but it's coming on with more time with the boys on my outside.”
Waters said getting team combinations to gel was exactly what he was looking for as the squad attempts to overcome the 'balanced' Giants.
“They (the Giants) have some experienced players in the forwards and in the back row,” he said.
“They have the leadership, which will have them ready for a tough clash.”
After the impressive performance against Casino in the last round, the Magpies squad will be hoping to not only pick up the two points but to kick-start their season with a victory over the Giants.
“We need to build on the game against Casino and work on the areas that need improving,” Waters said.
“Our main goal is to string some games together so we are there at the end of the season.
“I think this will be our toughest game of the season.”
The break last weekend for the country carnival has allowed Magpies players with niggling injuries to fully recuperate, with Waters expecting a 'healthy, 100 per cent' run-on squad.
As a special present on Mothers' Day, the Lower Clarence club is offering free admission to all rugby league-loving mothers tomorrow.