Former Magpies sons return to lead into next generation

NEXT GENERATION: Lower Clarence Magpies new coaches Anthony Hickling and Dan Randall with club president Darrin Heron (centre).
NEXT GENERATION: Lower Clarence Magpies new coaches Anthony Hickling and Dan Randall with club president Darrin Heron (centre).

RUGBY LEAGUE: There are few names more synonymous with the Lower Clarence Magpies club than Randall. Generation after generation of the Randall family have pulled on the black and white with nothing but pride.

And now Dan Randall, a former favourite son of the Magpies, is set to return to his childhood club to continue his family's legacy and foster the NRRRL hopeful's future.

Randall has signed on with the Magpies as their first grade player coach while former Magpies' greats Anthony Hickling and Joe Walker will take over as reserve grade and under-18s coaches respectively.

Less than a year after the Magpies were in dire straits staring down the barrel of folding the club, Randall saw an opportunity to revive their first grade ranks while also returning to his home.

The heavy-hitting centre still had two years left on his deal with Intrust Super Cup side Redcliffe Dolphins but when he spotted an advertisement online from his former team, it barely took a second thought.

"All it takes is a few blokes to put their hands up and get Lower back on field for 2017,” Randall said.

"There is too much history and pride in this club for it to be sitting on the sidelines.

"The opportunity came up to sign on with Lower and I thought there is going be no better opportunity to get back home to my family.”

It also created a chance for Randall to bring his own young family to the Valley so his three kids could grow up among their community.

The 28-year-old spent all his formative years around the Magpies as his father Michael played, and it is something he wants to see his own children get the opportunity to do.

"I sort of want to get Lower back to what it used to be when I was growing up,” he said.

"I used to go down to every training with my dad and run around and play touch with all the other kids who were there. It was a real community feel.

"It is not just the boys playing each weekend but everyone who is involved that reflects the club.

"I have learnt a lot over my years in the Q-Cup, so hopefully I can put that all together for the boys.”

Club president Darrin Heron said the move to sign Randall on for the coaches role was a major coup for the Magpies and continues a recent run of big names coming back to the club including Ryan Binge and Jordan Walker.

"This is great for us. To see a guy who played all his junior football with the club want to come back and support us into the future is fantastic,” Heron said.

"This is off the back of the spirit that our under-18s have shown this year. They laid the foundations for a successful future and we are working off the back of the respect and pride they put back into the Magpies.”

It was a tireless effort from the under-18s contingent who - as part of the Tweed Coast Raiders club - spent two hours on the road every second week to go to home games.

Against all odds the Magpies made it to the NRRRL minor semi-final last season and had the power of an entire Lower Clarence community behind them.

"They brought the community together with their spirit,” Heron said. "People who had never even been to a game or down to the club were coming out and sending them messages of support.

"We want to continue that commitment to the club and culture into next season and I think Dan is the right man to do it.”

While Randall said it was too early to set a definite goal for next season, the former Magpie is on a mission that he believes is definitely achievable.

"The under-18s set a great platform for us last season and now we need to build on top of that. I just want to make Lower great again.”

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