MICK Kellehear is the new coach of the Gloucester Magpies.
The former halfback and hooker said he took on the role after prompting from some of the senior players in the Magpies squad.
His first job in the new role will be to build a competitive team that can match and exceed the efforts of last year’s squad, which fell one game short of the grand final.
A first time coach, Kellehear has been involved with the Magpies since he was junior.
He was the Magpies’ player of the year in 2008 when they won the grand final and also had a stint with the Forster-Tuncurry Hawks in Group 3 Rugby League.
More recently he has served as a trainer for the side and sits on the Magpies committee.
Kellehear said the support of senior players including former captain-coach Mick Shultz, halfback Hayden
Tull and forwards Simon Hitchcock and Mathew Higgins would be critical to the team’s success in 2014, as would maintaining a healthy and fit squad.
“Injuries have always been a problem for us because we don’t have the depth of other clubs,” he said.
He said the re-emergence of junior rugby league in Gloucester would benefit the club.
“One of our real problems is keeping the young players. With junior league starting back up again there’ll be more chance of players filtering though,” he said.
The Magpies are again likely to contest the Newcastle Hunter Rugby League D grade competition in 2014.
“There’s not a great deal of difference between either C grade or D grade but I doubt we would have been as competitive against some of the bigger sides in C grade last year,” Kellehear said.
“We’re a small side but we make up for it by being fit.”
Training for the Magpies will start on February 4 from 5.30pm at Bert Gallagher Oval.