NEW BLOOD: Brandon Costin is demanding a stronger training ethic to lift Sawtell 2014’s third place finish.
NEW BLOOD: Brandon Costin is demanding a stronger training ethic to lift Sawtell 2014’s third place finish.

Spencer links with the Panthers

IF YOU can't beat them - join them.

Steven Spencer has followed that piece of sporting advice by linking up with Group 2 rugby league club Sawtell as assistant coach to Brandon Costin.

Spencer, the former Woolgoolga captain-coach, told The Coffs Coast Advocate in confidence that he would be joining the Panthers after that club had eliminated his Seahorses from the premiership race on August 9.

"It's been frustrating for me and the club with the injuries and suspensions," he said.

Costin has fore-warned players' fitness will need to improve next season to go higher than this year's third place finish.

While both Costin and Spencer are proven coaches, at least three new faces are likely to appear when the 2015 season gets underway.

Orara Valley is believed to be on the verge of announcing a coach with experience in England and New Zealand to replace Bert Gray.

Premier team Grafton has appointed rugged forward Ben McLennan, 25, to replace retiring captain-coach Ryan Farrell.

For McLennan, coaching the Ghosts is a long-held goal.

"I've always wanted to do it but probably not this early though," he said.

"But I've worked pretty closely with Ryan for the past few years and he's only a phone call away if I need him.

"I took about a week to think about (the offer) and had a talk with my wife.

"She wasn't too keen to start with but came around."

Nambucca Heads are rebuilding and intend to be back in the premiership race after president Pat Broderick and a new committee were elected.

The club has advertised for a coach in the comeback season with a closing date of October 7.