McGregor could spark Seahorses

BALLINA Seahorses didn’t have to look far to find their 2010 first grade coach.

Mick McGregor has been at the helm of the reserve grade side for two years and won five premierships as halfback in the dominant Seahorses side of the late ’90s and early noughties.

An electrician by trade, McGregor has been commissioned to provide the spark which could see Ballina usurp Lennox Head and return to the top of the Far North Coast Rugby Union tree.

The Seahorses’ football manager Shane Preston saw the appointment as a no-brainer.

“Mick has been involved with the club for about 20 years now and we have also got another former player in John Doctor as his assistant,” Preston said. “Employing blokes like this keeps a good local feel about the club.”

McGregor has inherited a side that won the 2009 minor premiership before folding in straight sets in the finals; and although they belted Southern Cross University last week the new coach thinks it will be a while until his side takes full flight.

“There are blokes playing third grade now that will be in the top side by the end of the season,” McGregor predicted. “And there are a few new faces, so wait a couple of months until everyone is fully fit and then we should be hitting our straps.”

Today, Ballina travel to Grafton to take on the Redmen who will be looking to make up for a sluggish start to the season.

“We have got all four grades going down,” he said. “So we have that whole club feel about the trip, but it is a big day so we have to be on the job.”

McGregor has had to make a few slight adjustment to his starting side for the match with Adam Thomas and Matt Lloyd away, and lock, Mick Muir, resting after being concussed last weekend. But he said there is no chance of his old mate, Queensland Reds back-rower, Van Humphries, pulling on a jersey. “He has done it before a few years ago, but no chance this time around, he is resting up with a busted ankle,” McGregor said.

Tom Farrell comes into the No 4 jersey, while Syd Etuati will start at tight-head prop and Luke Watling comes on to the wing.

The match is scheduled for a 3:10pm kick-off at Rugby Park, Grafton.

In other round two matches, Casino get their season underway when they play Wollongbar-Alstonville at Albert Park, Casino; and the Uni Gold Rats and Lismore City play out the Lismore derby at Maurie Ryan Oval at the uni grounds. All matches from 3:10pm.

Lennox Head has the bye.

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