After almost two decades in the role at South Newcastle, you’d think president Terry Davies would have witnessed it all in Newcastle Rugby League.
Known as “The Godfather” throughout the organisation, and local sporting fraternity, he’s presided over the competition’s only foundation club still in existence through the good times and bad, as well as enjoying premiership success on two occasions since 2016.
But, not even he could’ve envisaged what 2020 had in store for the Lions.
“That was a real learning curve, thanks to COVID-19,” Davies said.
“However, we were never going to sit out the year.
“We had too many kids who wanted to play a game of footy.
“They [the youngsters] mean a lot to Souths.
“Although I’ll admit, it was a tough season.
“But, there were a few silver linings.
“We blooded about 10 fellas in the senior team – Andrew Ryan game them a chance, which was a credit to the coaching staff.
“The boys then reached the first grade grand final (losing to the Cessnock Goannas) while the women’s blues tag side knocked over the Maitland Pickers 8-6 to win the title.”
Davies is equally confident the Lions will roar again in 2021.
Souths are preparing to contest the firsts, reserves, thirds, under-19 and women’s divisions.
“Expectations are high,” he said.
“And, in a positive sign, we haven’t had to search for any blokes.
“Hopefully, we’ll get the benefits from the young guys who pulled on the boots last year.
“Plus, a number of our former players are set to return, too.
“That will give the squad a strong balance of youth and experience.”
Davies is quite certain Ryan’s assistant from 2020, Matt Kennedy, is the right man for the job as well.
“We couldn’t be in better hands,” he said.
“Matt’s communication with the players is brilliant.
“He’s very fair, however he’s not afraid to try new things either.”
Given his stature within the Lions, who’ve produced several internationals, State of Origin, and many NSW Country and Newcastle representatives, don’t expect to see Davies pull the pin anytime soon.
“I love the club,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.
“It’s a great organisation surrounded by great people.
“Souths is also steeped in history.
“It boasts a good spirit, good culture, good committee and a good crop of youngsters.
“That’s supported by generous sponsors such as Gerard Murphy Plumbing, the Varley Group and South Newcastle Leagues Club.
“Then there’s our strong junior base with terrific mentors.
“How many other clubs can say they’ve got former NRL stars like Mark Hughes, Danny Buderus and Andrew Ryan coaching their kids?
“Marc Glanville and Michael Hagan lend a hand, too.
“It certainly holds us in good stead.”
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