Rebels coach could soon make rugby history

AS A young rugby league lover growing up in the Lower Clarence, Dallas Waters always looked up to former Rebels and Lower Clarence coach John Brown.

A good family friend of Waters' father Donnie, Brown took the Magpies first grade side through premiership winning seasons.

Waters grew up alongside Brown's children going to school with them and forming a close bond before he broke into the Lower Clarence first grade side, with Brown as his coach.

Now Waters, as current Rebels first grade coach, has the chance to make history by following in the footsteps of the man who was once his mentor.

In 2009 Waters became the first man to take the Lower Clarence Magpies to a rugby league premiership since Brown did so in 1984.

This Sunday Waters has the chance to do it again, this time with the South Grafton Rebels.

If Waters' side defeats Coffs Harbour on Sunday, he will be the first coach to win a premiership with the Rebels since Brown did in 1975.

According to Brown he always knew Waters would amount to something beyond the average player.

"I always knew he would go on to do something special in rugby league just by the way he spoke about people and played," Brown said.

"He always had the nice nature, he had the nature to get on with anyone. He was a very smart player as a kid.

"You would go and watch them play as ten year olds and Dallas played like a twenty year old in the head. He was years beyond the other boys on the field.

"He always had potential, he has the ability to read the game. It is something that you can't teach a player, they just have it."

Brown was applauded by many for his strict coaching style that ensured players got the most out of training and game days while also fostering a family atmosphere.

There are comparisons to be made with Brown's coaching style and that of Waters' today.

"John was obviously big on discipline, it is a key for any side if they want to be successful," Waters said. "He was really staunch on players doing the hard work.

"I have played under a few coaches in my time as a player and I probably have adopted aspects from each.

"There are some principles that John has used in his methods that I definitely take from in the way I go about coaching.

"That family culture is vital. It makes sure that all the boys that you coach get along well together. That reflects the way that you play. You go out there shoulder to shoulder with your brother."

With Waters' plans to retire his coaching boots following this season with the Rebels, his side has a chance to send him off in a fairytale ending.

But Brown does not believe it will end there.

"He might change his mind [about retiring] after Sunday night," he said. "If they win the big one it is a feeling that you just never forget."

Brown who will be on a cruise on Sunday and will miss the match but said he will be keeping up to date by phone every minute.

"I will be playing with them up on deck," he said.

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