Ryan in charge
RYAN Farrell has guided the Grafton Ghosts to back-to-back premierships as a player.
Now one of the club's favourite sons will attempt to lead the first grade side to a third consecutive title after accepting the position as head coach.
At their annual meeting last night the Ghosts announced Farrell would be at the helm next year, taking over from Col Speed, who has accepted a coaching position at the Mackay Cutters in Far North Queensland.
The 25-year-old playmaker and captain admitted he has a hard act to follow but said trying his hand at coaching had always been in the back of his mind.
"I wasn't really thinking about taking over the coaching role. To tell the truth, I was hoping Speedy would stick around," Farrell told the Examiner.
"But I suppose it's something I've always thought about doing. The opportunity presented itself, so I'm keen to give it a go."
The Ghosts have been renowned for their professional attitude in recent years and Farrell said he hoped to maintain a similar culture at the club.
"I'll definitely change a few things, but most things will stay the same," he said.
"We look like having the same coaching staff, with 'Westy' (Terry West) and Joe (Kinnane).
"I like the idea of doing a lot of skill-based stuff, and obviously fitness."
Farrell's knowledge of the game is second to none and apart from barking instructions on the field, his ability to read a game would be sorely missed if he decided to hang up the boots and focus solely on the coaching role.
When asked if he would be running out on to the field for the Ghosts next year, Farrell said he was undecided at this stage.
"I'll wait and see what help I get," he said.
"Like assistant coaching-wise will have a big bearing on if I play or not.
"My main priority at the moment is coaching. If I get the chance to play that will be good, but if not there are plenty of young guys coming through."
For Farrell his biggest hurdle could be how he handles coaching his mates.
It's no secret most young coaches find it difficult in their first year to separate themselves from their former teammates, who they have formed a close bond with over the years.
"I think it could work both ways," Farrell said.
"It can work really well for me, where the players want to play for me and respect me, or the other way, where they might test me.
"Who knows? I might have to crack the whip."