DECISION MADE: Ghosts end months of Wicks speculation

6th December 2017 11:39 AM
Danny Wicks will return to the Grafton Ghosts to captain-coach first grade in 2018. Danny Wicks will return to the Grafton Ghosts to captain-coach first grade in 2018. Adam Hourigan

RUGBY LEAGUE: Rumours on Danny Wicks' movements for 2018 have been swirling ever since the final siren of the Group 2 first grade grand final at Frank McGuren Field.

But today, Grafton Ghosts president Joe Kinnane has finally been able to put them all to bed.

"No, Danny will not be coaching Lower Clarence, he won't be taking over from Jarryd Hayne as the Titans fullback and he won't be running a fishing trawler business with his brother Brett," Kinnane said.

"Danny will be coaching the Grafton Ghosts."

Wicks made the final decision on his future on Tuesday which brought an end to months of worry for club administrators.

"It has been a pretty stressful time not knowing what was happening," Kinnane said. "The decision effects sponsorship, players, everything, it just makes it so hard.

"But Danny was always our main priority and we gave him every chance to make the decision.

"He said he is happy to come back on board again next season and it is fantastic to have him. The response from last year meant we had to have him basically."

In his first season at the Ghosts helm, Wicks took the club to an undefeated Group 2 premiership victory and the richest prize in bush football - the Clayton Cup.

The club has won the Clayton Cup in back-to-back seasons before (2010-11), and while Wicks' appointment is the first step to doing it again, Kinnane said the club won't have any expectations.

"We don't kid ourselves that it will happen again but this is a big step towards it," Kinnane said. "Danny is a quality player, a quality coach and above all that just a quality person.

"The atmosphere he has built around the club since coming back last season is just outstanding."

Wicks will be joined in the Ghosts' coaching ranks by newly appointed Under 18s coach Shaun Davison as well as Rhys Hambly who will coach the inaugural Grafton Ghosts ladies league tag side.

Regular first grade wing pairing Mitch Gorman and Joel Moss are expected to support Hambly in his role.

"It is a shame to lose Warwick Brown from the Under 18s side, but we have not lost anything in appointing Shaun to the role," Kinnane said. "He is the head coach of the Under 16 Northern Rivers representative side and a coaching member of the Gold Coast Titans academy and high perfromance unit."

The club is yet to come to a decision on its reserve grade coaching role but have shortlisted the best five applicants, who will now go through an interview process with the club's board.

"We honestly couldn't make a decision because we had such a great crop of applicants," Kinnane said. "We want to give everybody an equal opportunity at the job and look forward to interviewing the applicants."

Grafton will return to pre-season training at the end of January ahead of the Group 2 season kicking off in April.