Former Wallaby, Garrick Morgan’s return to rugby union was confirmed, after he struggled in rugby league, playing for new club, the South Queensland Crushers, under novice coach, Bob Lindner.
Morgan claimed he would have made it, with time, and said his transition might have been easier if he had played under an experienced coach.
In a comment piece I was asked to contribute at ‘The Courier-Mail’, I wrote that Morgan had learned to time his runs better as the season progressed, but still had no impact, despite his size.
“The thing that really disappointed me about Morgan, was the softness of his tackles,” I wrote. “He should have been wiping opponents out with the bulk at his disposal, but he almost cuddled some blokes to the ground.
“There were hundreds of hours of specialised coaching put into Garrick, with Lindner (in the pre-season), Trevor Gillmeister, Andrew Farrar, Mario Fenech and Greg Dowling all giving their time to make him a worthwhile buy.”
In Sydney, there was speculation St George would defect to Super League, but Australian Rugby League CEO, John Quayle said 39 Saints’ players had signed five-year loyalty agreements, and would not be released.
The Brothers Confraternity was mentioned as a possible saviour of Gold Coast Seagulls, who were in danger of being punted from the ARL. But the Confraternity also had been linked with an application to become part of the rebel Super League competition.
Confraternity chairman, Frank Melit said there were a number of clubs in the 22 strong confraternity which supported Super League, and a number that were just as strongly behind the ARL.
Seagulls’ coach, John Harvey said he believed the bid to keep the club at West Tweed Heads, was dead, and the club’s only chance of survival was a proposal to relocate to Carrara, at the northern end of the Gold Coast. The man behind that idea was property developer, Brian Ray.
The ‘Save Our Seagulls’ committee, chaired by Alan Ikin (father of Origin star, Ben) fell short, in terms of financial requirements, according to Quayle.
Brisbane Broncos welcomed Steve Nance back to the club as ‘head trainer’ following the departure of Englishman, Kelvin Giles.
After five years as Giles’ off-sider, Nance took on the top job at North Queensland Cowboys, in their inaugural (1995) season. The Cowboys won only two of 22 matches.
“I had trouble instigating a strength and conditioning programme up there, because the players came from local leagues and other Winfield Cup sides,” Nance said. “Plus, we had a lot of players at the end of their careers. I’m not bagging them, but it’s very hard to teach old dogs, new tricks. A lot of young NQ players had never done weights before.”
When Nance left for Townsville, it was on a three-year deal, but there was a clause in his contract that there should be a 15-month settling in period for his family. Nance said there were no problems with the club, or the city, but his wife wanted to return to Brisbane to be closer to her family. Former New South Wales State of Origin hooker, Rex Wright was appointed Nance’s replacement at the Cowboys.
“We had no stars up in Townsville, except for (Welshman) Johnathan Davies, and he was only there for a little while, and a lot of that time for a holiday,” Nance said.
Nance rated some of his support staff, at the Broncos, as the best in Australia.
“The man looking after our strength and power components, Dan Baker, is probably the most credentialled in his field in Australia,” he said.
1 Former Wallaby, Garrick Morgan (left) and Englishman, Mike Ford in their Crushers’ gear
2 Garrick Morgan back in rugby union
3 Steve Nance in the Broncos’ gym.