NEW BLOOD: Bangalow will be one of three new teams in Far North Coast first-grade rugby union this year with a “brains trust” including, from left, coach Andrew Fraser, player Neil Moran, coach Will Cotterill and club president Dan Hill.
NEW BLOOD: Bangalow will be one of three new teams in Far North Coast first-grade rugby union this year with a “brains trust” including, from left, coach Andrew Fraser, player Neil Moran, coach Will Cotterill and club president Dan Hill. Cathy Adams

Zone takes on a new look

THREE new teams will enter the Far North Coast Rugby Union first-grade competition this season and Bangalow has already sec-ured two handy assets.

Lismore City player-coach Will Cotterill and FNC rep-resentative coach Andrew Fraser will take the reins at the club.

Yamba and Byron Bay are returning to first grade to make it a 10-team competition with Bangalow playing in the top grade for the first time in the club's 10-year history.

Cotterill is also the FNC assistant coach and admits it will be tough leaving Lismore after four years at the club.

"I was thinking with my zone hat on and more first-grade teams is something we need," he said.

"Neil Moran is out there and he used to play with us (at Lismore); he was keen for me to come and help.

"It's going to be tough and we'll be recruiting heavily in the next month.

"We have blokes that played last year, some that have moved back to the area and some guys that are keen who are working on the Bangalow bypass."

Bangalow will also field a second grade team with Kyogle and Murwillumbah also in that grade.

Fraser moved to the area from Newcastle last year and didn't have a club side to coach this season after his commitments finish with the FNC Dolphins.

"I've been working pretty closely with him and was keen to have him on board," Cotterill said.

"It's an important step for the competition and I think we have the right people out here to make it a success."

The President's Cup will include teams from Ballina, Southern Cross University, Evans River, Mullumbimby, Murwillumbah, Illuka and Grafton.

FNC president Graham Cook has been working tirelessly with clubs and released the competition draw yesterday.

"We've been looking to add a bit of variety and strengthen the first-grade competition for a while now," Cook said.

"It's a good chance for some clubs to come up and test themselves against the best first-grade sides.

"There are some weeks where clubs won't have first and second grades together at the same ground.

"We'll encourage the clubs to take games to places we don't normally go and make a gala day of it."

Bangalow has its first training run on February 5.



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