By Grant Robertson
FARRER won a few admirers yesterday despite losing to St Gregory’s Campbelltown.
Former NRL coach and now Newcastle Knights recruitment manager Peter Mulholland was on hand to watch the green and golds play and said he was impressed with a few of the local boys.
“It was a good hit-out,” Mulholland said.
“They probably lacked a bit of size more than anything, and these St Greg’s players have been together before.
“But the nine (Logan Harris) was good and the two Bradys – the three and the six (Matt and John) – were good. A few of the forwards had a go.
“It was impressive.
“I’ve seen the St Greg’s boys train and they brought up a pretty good side.”
In fact Mulholland was a teacher at St Greg’s once upon a time and even taught Farrer coach Damian Kenniff when he was a St Greg’s boy himself.
Mulholland went on to coach the Western Reds when they entered the ARL premiership in 1995 and since then has held a number of other elite coaching and recruitment positions with the likes of Penrith and the Bulldogs.
But this year he has joined a bulked-up Knights staff at a time when the club is starting to reclaim the Tamworth area as its own.
The club has linked with Farrer and the Wests Greater Northern Academy in recent times with high performance manager Keith Onslow and coaching manager Graham Murray visiting the area.
Murray was at Farrer on Friday to help the school’s teams, from under 14s up to the first XIII.
“The Knights would like to help and not just with the opens but with all the age levels,” Mulholland said.
“You have to have the under 15s so that you progress all the way through.
“That’s why when I was at school we always had our best coaches in the under 15s.”
The relationship between the Knights and the North West could be further strengthened in the future.
Mulholland is keen to have the best young local players in red and blue in the future and knows the club has to make the effort if it is to compete with other clubs.
Bulldogs recruitment officer and Warialda legend Noel “Crusher” Cleal was also at yesterday’s game eyeing off the talent and other clubs have moved in as well.
But with Nathan Tinkler’s cash and Wayne Bennett’s blueprint for success the Knights are back, bigger and better and ready to reclaim their patch.
“Keith has been involved with the academy up here, through the CRL,” Mulholland said.
“What we’d probably like to do is see more camps up here and get the best players from the area together.
“From a recruitment point of view the North West has always been a happy hunting ground.
“We want to get back into this area.
“Nathan Tinkler and Wayne Bennett want to develop the academies in Group 3 and Group 4.”