NO GIVENS: Wicks puts his Ghosts on notice
RUGBY LEAGUE: With just over a month before the Group 2 rugby league season kicks off at Frank McGuren Field, Grafton Ghosts captain Danny Wicks is no closer to separating his squad into first grade and reserve grade.
Wicks has put his troops on notice when he said there were no guaranteed spots in the first grade side, with every position a battle between at least two or three contenders.
The former Parramatta Eels enforcer has returned to Country Rugby League with one goal and he is keen to build a team to achieve it.
"We have one goal at Grafton and that's to win a premiership," Wicks said.
"I think we have more than the squad to do it. We have got some serious depth. It is going to be very tough just to pick a team."
While some players have had a monopoly on their positions for several seasons, Wicks said there were no certain picks.
With a professional approach adopted straight from former coach Brad Arthur's playbook, the former Parramatta Eels prop forward said he was putting friendships aside.
"Don't get me wrong, I am friends with all the boys, but I have made a commitment to the club," he said.
"Friends or no friends; if someone is a better player than the other then that is just rugby league.
"Things like this, as a player and a person, is about how you respond. There are players fringing your position and how you react will determine whether you are in the side or not."
The professional approach of Wicks has been matched by many players in the club with a notable improvement in the structures of weekly training sessions.
To avoid pre-season disruptions Wicks pushed the start of training back to late January to ensure no holidays would get in the way but pushed training sessions to two hours to raise the intensity.
"The boys are responding to it really well," he said. "What we are doing is what the coaches at the top are."
Wicks has been well supported by fellow senior squad member Clint Greenshields who brings more than a decade of top level experience to the Ghosts backline.
Greenshields, who still holds the leading try-scorer list at Catalans Dragons, has quickly taken over leadership of the Ghosts backline with the former NRL star speaking one-on-one with each of them.
"This club is very professional, it has gone to another level since I was last here," Wicks said. "The boys really turn up ready to get into it, they are all very easy to coach.
"We are just working on a few things which about 90% is what I have brought with me from Sydney and some of my own stuff thrown in there."
The Ghosts will get their first hit out of the season in a scheduled trial match against NRRRL premiers Murwillumbah Mustangs next month.
Who will win the 2017 Group 2 Rugby League title?
This poll ended on 09 August 2017.
Coffs Harbour Comets
Macksville Sea Eagles
Nambucca Heads Roosters
Orara Valley Axemen
South Grafton Rebels
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.