Roy Bell (purple cap) puts in work with his side during a South Grafton Rebels pre-season training at McKittrick Park on Tuesday, January 21.
Roy Bell (purple cap) puts in work with his side during a South Grafton Rebels pre-season training at McKittrick Park on Tuesday, January 21.

Rebels ramp up pre-season with familiar faces back on deck

RUGBY LEAGUE: With just over two months left before the start of the Group 2 Rugby League season the South Grafton Rebels have been hard at work.

With a new first grade coach and a raft of new and returning players for 2020, club president Brendan Breitnauer said “things are shaping up pretty well.”

Roy Bell and Josh Nagle run the drills during a South Grafton Rebels pre-season training at McKittrick Park on Tuesday, January 21.
Roy Bell and Josh Nagle run the drills during a South Grafton Rebels pre-season training at McKittrick Park on Tuesday, January 21.

“We’ve been getting good numbers at training and we’ll have a fair few local guys back on board,” he said.

“Grant Stevens, Luke Welch, Grant Brown, Nick McGrady, Joe Rigg, Mikey Rigg are among those who are back. We’ve just about locked everyone in from last year.

Rebels captain Luke Welch during a South Grafton Rebels pre-season training at McKittrick Park on Tuesday, January 21.
Rebels captain Luke Welch during a South Grafton Rebels pre-season training at McKittrick Park on Tuesday, January 21.

“We haven’t really recruited too far outside our area.”

Some former Rebels stars will return to the picture to join forces with new first grade coach, Roy Bell, once again.

“Dwayne Duke will be back in the side again. He made a promise to Roy that he’d come back and play with him,” Breitnauer said.

Duke played for the Grafton Redmen in 2019 but despite his age, Breitnauer expects him to play a big part in what he hopes is another successful year for the club.

“I don’t think age is a factor with him, he will play to best of abilities. Grant Stevens will be back as well so the pair of them should have a big impact,” he said.

Along with the first grade and reserve sides, Breitnauer said the Rebels’ ladies league tag side are expected to find more success this year.

Ladies League tag captain Heidi Dalton gets to work during a South Grafton Rebels pre-season training at McKittrick Park on Tuesday, January 21.
Ladies League tag captain Heidi Dalton gets to work during a South Grafton Rebels pre-season training at McKittrick Park on Tuesday, January 21.

“The girls will be very strong again this year. We should have coach appointed for them very soon,” he said.

“They’re enjoying being part of the training group. Roy and Josh happy to take them on for now but we want to get the right coach in place. They’ve always been strong so we want to keep that success going and coaching is a key part in that.”

As pre-season training takes place in summer, Breitnauer said the players have been expecting a tough task but high temperatures and humidity have added to the challenge.

“The heat has been tough for pre-season but to see 30 odd turn up was great in high 30C temperatures,” he said.

The Rebels are yet to lock in any pre-season fixtures but Breitnauer is shaping up some tournaments to get his players fighting fit.

“We’ll look to play in the Coffs Harbour 9’s competition on February 22 with a few trials to come,” he said.



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