Wicks makes his call on leading Ghosts
RUGBY LEAGUE: Danny Wicks is back at the helm of the Grafton Ghosts, and he has already put the rest of Group 2 on notice.
"Moving into this season I am not going to accept anything under an undefeated season,” Wicks said. "We have the calibre of players to do that.”
While it might heap the pressure on his players before a ball has even been passed in pre-season, Wicks knows they will be respond to it in the right way.
And with the expected return of Wicks' best friend, and former North Queensland Cowboys fullback Clint Greenshields on the horizon, they are well on the way to achieving the goal.
"At the end of the day that is what Greeny and I want to do and that is what the club wants to do,” Wicks said. "There is no point just setting a goal of reaching the semis, we want to stamp our foot on this competition.”
The last time Wicks and Greenshields were at the Ghosts together, the club secured the prestigious Clayton's Cup as the best side in NSW Country Rugby League. It was a record-equalling third time the Ghosts had earned the award, and Wicks is keen to break that record.
It has been a turnaround in fortune for the Ghosts, with Wicks appearing determined not to return to the helm after the club's failed bid to return to NRRRL next season.
But a chance call from Greenshields turned him around.
"I was not doing it in Group 2, I didn't want to do Group 2 again, that was me personally,” Wicks said.
"I even said to (club president) Garry Gillespie that it was a solid no. Greeny gave me a call that afternoon and said he was keen to come back up and hang with the boys again.
"I think there was also a few guys who were waiting to see what I was doing again.
"There is a couple of new ideas floating around at the club and more of a basis on the community. It is a bit of a see how it goes for the next 12 months, and get the boys on track for an undefeated season.”
While he expects pre-season will not kick off at Frank McGuren Field until early next season, Wicks has begun planning for season 2019.
He wants to bring more families back to the game, and bring the senior ranks more in line with what the Ghosts junior club is attempting to achieve.
"I have a passion for the Ghosts, it's hard not to have a passion for the club that you have played with through all your juniors,” he said. "I can remember as a kid you used to come out and watch the football and dreamed of pulling on the Ghosts jersey.
"There are going to be a few things that will change. The club has had a bit of a facelift and we are already planning on running more events and having more connection with our sponsors. Family is also our big focus, we need to do something to get more of them to the game.”
Wicks' confirmation as the Ghosts captain-coach ends a strong week for the club, which also included the return of front rower Adam Slater, star centre Dylan Collett and the signing of German captain Brad Billsborough.