Pettit up for the challenge with the Magpies
NATHAN Pettit is not one to shy away from a challenge.
The 35-year-old former halfback is a country boy through and through, born and bred in Cootamundra where he got his start as a footballer.
He moved to Sydney where he lived for 10 years, dividing his playing time between Cootamundra and new local club Moorebank Rams.
A horrific knee injury ended his playing career in 2011, but he simply picked up the clipboard and got stuck into a coaching gig.
The Rams played against sides from across Sydney, with the St George Dragons just one of their high-quality opponents.
Now he is settling into his new role as first grade coach at Lower Clarence Magpies.
"Everyone I've spoken to has told me it's a challenge - everyone," Pettit said.
"It is a little bit daunting but I'm ready for the challenge."
Pettit arrived in Maclean three weeks ago but has hit the ground running.
He and club president Tony Marshall have had several meetings about the 2014 season, working through plans to re-establish the Magpies as a force.
The Magpies have waded through thousands of dollars worth of debt since lifting the trophy in 2009, and are only just getting their heads above water.
"Most clubs in Sydney would've just folded," Pettit said.
"The same problems are around everywhere though.
"Lack of players is one of the big things, but jobs are also hard to come by.
"Sheriff (Marshall) actually got the house for me and this role was more of a bonus."
Pettit will lead his troops into preseason training from January 14, with a major focus on skills training.
"We're rebuilding so the aims are to keep the juniors interested, and try to make sure we record a few wins," Pettit said.
"I'm not sure with the juniors. I guess it's my job to make sure training is fun for them and make them want to come back.
"The Magpies have only won a few games in the past few years.
"We need to win a few more games and pay back the community's support.
"The players have to work on their organisation a bit more, but that is something that will come with time."
Pettit's planning will eventually involve investigating the rest of the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League competition.
At this stage he has not looked too far into it, but did say he had watched the Magpies clashes with Evans Head and Byron Bay.
"We showed good signs in those games but there is a bit we need to work on," Pettit said.
"I started watching one of the games against the Ghosts but had to turn it off after 10 minutes. They were too good."
Tony Wisemann was appointed under-18s coach, while the club is still searching for a reserve grade coach.