Old Bar Pirates set to improve roster for 2018 Group Three Rugby League season

Jake Wheeler will be at Old Bar's helm again in 2018. He will be co-coach with Jason Morrissey.

Jake Wheeler will be at Old Bar's helm again in 2018. He will be co-coach with Jason Morrissey.

OLD Bar captain-coach Jake Wheeler said the club hopes to announce signings for the 2018 Group Three Rugby League season within weeks.

Wheeler will have the reins of the side again, however, this time in tandem with Jason Morrissey. Last season’s co-captain-coach Danny Russell indicated he would retire when the Pirates bowed out of the competition this year, but according to Wheeler, he’ll play on.

Morrissey had two stints as coach with the Pirates, taking the side to the final in 2011 and the grand final in 2013. Wheeler said they’ll be sharing the duties and added that Morrissey has remained involved with the club.

Wheeler is looking forward to his second year in the coaching role.

“It will probably be easier having a coach on the sideline and one on the field instead of two on the field,’’ Wheeler said.

“Last season was a bit of a learning curve for me.’’

The Pirates were beaten by Taree City in the elimination semi-final this year.

Prop Anthony Paulson is expected to retire, but otherwise the rest of the roster will be staying with the club, including North Coast under 23 representative forward Zeb Samuel and prop Andy Petelo.

He said the Pirates are on the verge of signing players from both within and outside the group.

Adamson in charge at Forster-Tuncurry

PHIL Adamson will return to the Group Three Rugby League coaching ranks when he takes charge of the Forster-Tuncurry Hawks next season.

Adamson coached Taree City 2013 and 14 and was the Bulls’ captain-coach in 2006.

A Taree Red Rovers and Taree Old Bar junior, he had a celebrated career as a prop/second rower with Parramatta and Penrith before returning to Group Three in 2003 as captain-coach of the now defunct Forster Dragons. 

He switched to Taree City in 2004 and retired from rugby league after being named player of the match in Taree’s grand final win over Port City in 2007.

The Hawks had a lean year in 2017, finishing last in first and reserve grades and winning just one match in first grade.

Earlier this month Taree City confirmed Matt Everitt will be the first grade captain-coach for 2018.

Everitt last coached in Group Three in 2012 when he was with the Old Bar Pirates. He has since coached on the Central Coast before returning to Group Three with the Bulls in 2016, when he was named the group player of the year. Everitt replaces the coach of the last two years, Gary Bridge, who did not seek the appointment. However, Bridge will remain involved as first grade manager next season.

The Bulls will announce the remainder of the 2018 coaching appointments at the annual meeting to be held on Sunday October 29.

Jake Wheeler and Jason Morrissey will be the co-coaches at the Old Bar Pirates (see page 30). Wheeler had the position last season along with Danny Russell.

Premiership winning Dan Kemp will retain the job with Port City.

Kemp has enjoyed two perfect seasons, steering the Breakers to an unbeaten win in women’s league tag in 2016 while the first grade team didn’t suffer a loss last season. He expects Port to retain the majority of the 2017 roster.

Wingham expects to announce its first grade coach soon.

Meanwhile nominations for the Group Three Hall of Fame close with Group Three chief executive Barrie Smith next Wednesday (October 25).

Hall of fame deadline

The next round of inductions will be held at the Wingham Services Club on Saturday November 25.

At the time of going to press 12 nominations had been received.

The Group Three annual meeting will be held at the Wingham Services Club on Sunday November 12. Group chairman, Wayne Bridge, has indicated he will be seeking the position again.