Danny Wicks in his Newcastle Knights playing days.
Danny Wicks in his Newcastle Knights playing days. Gatty Images Sport - Corey Davis

Magpies could prosper if rumoured Wicks appeal is successful

FORMER Newcastle Knights prop Danny Wicks could be on his way back to the footy field next season.

A News Limited report suggests Wicks is considering applying to the NRL for clemency to have his ban lifted in time for the start of next year's Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League season.

Wicks is currently serving the final 12 months of a four-year ban following his conviction for drug offences in 2011, a ban that will end on September 20 next year.

He spent 18 months behind bars at Glen Innes Correctional Centre before being released on parole, and has based himself in Yamba ever since.

Wicks' last game of rugby league was for the Grafton Ghosts in their undefeated Clayton Cup-winning season in 2010.

His bid for an early return has gained support from local, regional and state officials but it must be cleared by the NRL.

It is unknown whether or not the World Anti-Doping Authority can intervene as Wicks' ban is in line with WADA's four-year minimum for trafficking.

Lower Clarence Magpies president Tony Marshall confirmed members around the club were looking into the availability of Wicks, but were not holding their breath.

"We are just enquiring into it," Marshall said.

"It probably won't happen but they're just asking the questions.

"He would be an asset to the club and would provide quite a boost to other players but all I know is what was in that report."

NRRRL president Brian Rix said he would fully support Wicks return, provided he was cleared to play.

"If he is fully cleared, a bloke of his calibre would be great for the competition," Rix said.

"More than that, he'd be great for the club.

"I think it will still be a tough year for the Magpies but they've got a few good people running the show.

"They have a strong administrative body and we certainly want them back to being a competitive team."

News Limited quoted Country Rugby League CEO Terry Quinn as saying he was personally in favour of Wicks' move.

"It's not our decision - it will come down to the NRL," Quinn said.

"But personally, I wouldn't have a problem with it.

"He's done his time in jail and been sidelined for quite some time now. I can see him being good for the game in that area, so I'd probably look favourably on it.

"But I stress, that's just my point of view. The NRL might see things a bit differently."

New head Magpie getting the nest in order

NEW Lower Clarence Magpies coach Nathan Pettit has arrived and is settling into his new surroundings.

Pettit moved to Maclean a few weeks ago and has met with president Tony Marshall on several occasions to thrash out a plan for 2014.

He most recently coached the Moorebank Rams in South West Sydney, and was an accomplished halfback before a career-ending knee injury.

Marshall said the club was on the lookout for players but were hamstrung by club finances.

"We're not a cashed-up club but we're poking around," Marshall said.

NRRRL fixture not far away

THE 2014 NRRRL draw is nearing completion but there are a few issues the board still have to iron out.

Matchday requests from clubs have impacted on the draw but NRRRL president Brian Rix hopes to have a draft ready for the next group meeting.

"We've had a bit of trouble so far but we're working on it," Rix said.

"Each club has their own requests that we've been trying to make work.

"One is the Magpies have requested a few weeks of consecutive away games after the Maclean Show to let Maclean Showground's ground to get back into shape.

"Casino and Kyogle prefer to play during Beef Week and Evans Head have requested all of their games to be played on Saturday again.

"We're working on it to try and please everybody which is difficult. We're hoping to have it finalised early in the new year."

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