Cross training at the Red Devils in NRRRL
TWO Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League clubs have made significant coaching appointments ahead of the 2018 season.
Byron Bay will welcome back Nathan Cross, who coached the Red Devils to their most recent premiership in 2008, while multiple grand final-winning coach Dallas Waters will take the reins at Mullumbimby for the first time.
Waters coached Lower Clarence to an NRRRL premiership in 2009 before going on to coach South Grafton to a grand final win in Group Two in 2015.
He now lives at Cabarita and has spent the past two seasons working in a talent management role with North Coast juniors.
Meanwhile, it will be a homecoming for Cross, who played at Byron Bay and had stints with the Parramatta Eels and also the Tweed Seagulls in the Queensland Cup.
However, it is his recent experience with the Gold Coast Titans Under-20s as an assistant coach that should have the Byron Bay club excited.
Cross, who works as a real estate agent on the Gold Coast, was on the hunt for a new gig with the National Rugby League scrapping the Under-20s after this season.
It means he could bring some of the players with him while others who don't play Queensland Cup next season could also join the Red Devils.
Cross is also well known in Byron Bay circles, with his appointment an important part of the club securing significant sponsorship for next season.
"There are three or four guys (from the Titans Under-20s) thinking about having a run,” Cross said.
"I've spent the past few weeks reconnecting with the players and the sponsors in Byron Bay.
"There has been a bit of a disconnect between the club and the local community for the past few years.
"We were the number one sport in town about 10 years ago but we're lagging behind (the top) Aussie Rules and soccer now, which is a bit of a concern.”
The Red Devils made it as far as the grand final in 2014 but have had lean years on and off the field since.
New president Ben Webber has put plenty of work into renovating the club while Ryan O'Connoll has kept them going on the field as the captain-coach.
"I want to keep the team together and fill the gaps with a couple of new players,” Cross said.
"I've had a few local players express some interest and being from the area helps with sponsorship.”
Byron Bay will open its new clubhouse and hold a season launch on November 25.