Axemen look to Ghosts to bolster squad
RUGBY LEAGUE: Orara Valley Axemen coach Col Speed has confirmed the club has been in talks with former Grafton Ghosts' premiership winners Khan Williams and Don Dickson, but said they are no closer to signing the pair for 2019.
Orara Valley is putting together a formidable squad for the Toohey's New Group 2 first grade and adding Dickson and Williams would give the side much-needed experience.
"I will be upfront, there has been positive talks with both of the players, but at this stage that's all they are,” Speed said.
"There is a lot of travel commitments and work commitments that will likely get in the way of them signing on.
"While it is great for us to be having those chats with players, we need to realise we are a long way from them actually committing to us.”
One player who has definitely signed for the Axemen is former South Grafton Rebels dummy-half Jack Gull.
Speed said he hopes to find a place in the first grade squad for Gull, but he would have to earn his spot just like every player in the Axemen squad.
Incumbent dummy-half Rhys Walters appears likely to get the first crack at the role for this season with Speed impressed by his leadership at the base of the ruck.
"That number nine spot is pretty much locked in for Rhys, but that doesn't mean it can't change,” he said.
"There is a couple of options for Jack in the squad, he will just need to knuckle down in training and earn one.”
In an effort to improve their end of season performances the club has employed a strength and conditioning coach from Genesis Fitness.
"We identified that we weren't fit enough at the back end of last year, and the players have accepted that,” he said.
"So we are trying to change things up, bring in a few new programs to go away from the boring and mundane pre- season sessions that everyone has done for the past decade.”