Forbes Platypi welcome new coaches to first grade

Tony Wallace, Wayne O'Neill, John Cole and Heamani Lavaka are among the coaches and managers taking on the Platypi First Grade and Colts squads this year.
Tony Wallace, Wayne O'Neill, John Cole and Heamani Lavaka are among the coaches and managers taking on the Platypi First Grade and Colts squads this year.

With the retirement of Phil Prior from coaching the Forbes Rugby Club first grade squad, the club has welcomed a new coaching team this year.

Heamani Lavaka, Tony Wallace and Chris Francis have taking on the coaching duties for first grade this season, with Wayne O'Neill taking on the manager's duties.

Coaching for the Platypi is not a new experience for any of them with Heamani having coached the first grade alongside Phil for several years, while Tony and Chris have coached a variety of Platypi squads, including the juniors.

"This is in our blood, this club," Heamani said.

Heamani said Chris and Tony have had experience coaching first grade in the past before dropping down to help coach the junior squads of the last few years.

This is Tony's third stint coaching the first grade after spending the last eight or nine years helping coaching in the Junior Platypi.

Despite the change in coaches for this season they aren't planning on changing anything until the squad gets into gear.

"At the moment it is trying to get everyone to get to know our management and what our plan is and what we're going to do before Christmas," Heamani said.

"I'm really excited about this year, I think we've got a really handy squad," Tony said.

'We'll get them on the field and start warming up between now and after the Christmas break get into it really seriously."

"The squad looks quite strong on paper. We've got a couple new blokes come to town who are willing to put their hand up and play and Heamani has got some fellas from Parkes who are interested in coming over," Tony said.

At this stage, they will be joined by all of the players from last year's squad, with no one indicating they were going to step down as of last Tuesday, December 7.

Early indications are that the club will have bigger numbers this year, particularly in the reserve grade which will flow on to provide pressure for the first grade.

"Without a competitive, strong second grade it is very hard to win a first grade competition," Wayne said.

But, the biggest hope they have so far is that they can get a full season of games out next year.

"Now COVID has all stuffed up the last two seasons it would be nice to see a full season come back in," Wayne said.

"The whole club is going as well as it can, but it will be in full swing, and President's Lunch is going to go ahead, a full season will happen for all the grades. I think everyone is looking forward to just get back to normal footy," he said.

While early indications of numbers are good for the first and second grade squads, the women's squad is looking for more players aged 16 and up to register to play.

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