Costin departs Panthers before first whistle is blown
MONTHS out from the start of the Group 2 Rugby League season and Sawtell has provided an unexpected coaching casualty.
Highly respected Brandon Costin was the centre of a huge shock when he resigned mid-week as head coach of the Panthers.
Steven Spencer, who transferred in September from Woolgoolga to form what was expected to be a formidable partnership, will add the head coaching role to his first grade responsibilities.
Reserve grade duties are being shared by Josh Lewis and Jase Usher while Troy Robinson stays with under-18s.
Sawtell chairman Michael Cunningham declined to offer comment on the matter and instead requested The Coffs Coast Advocate contact Costin directly for a statement.
"I wanted to take the club in a certain direction and others didn't want to see that," Costin said.
"It was a democratic decision and prompted me to step aside.
"No one is to blame and there's no way I intend to point blame at anybody myself."
Word of Costin's decision leaked via social media and an item on the club's Facebook page stating reasons for the parting of ways - said to have been posted by a third party - did not fully explain the motives.
However, one explanation from sources is that Costin and certain progressive members wished to expand Sawtell's sponsorship base and there was an adverse reaction when it was felt this could conflict with current sponsors.
Comments following the Facebook item show Costin retains widespread support within the club, especially with senior players.
Costin said his employment meant he would still be available to work with the club when the situation demanded.
"Steve is a great young coach and with my work in NRL Development I'm at hand to assist him or any of the grade and junior coaches," he said.
"Naturally, it's a pity it has come to this as I believe the club has huge potential to take the next step with a strong core group of players and some good ones coming through.
"Playing with them would have been great."