Thorpe-do boost for Magpies

RUGBY LEAGUE: Easts Magpies have gone back to a stalwart as coach as they attempt to end a seven-year drought in the Bundaberg A Grade Premiership in 2012.

Bruce Thorpe, who has been a champion of the club as a player and coach since first pulling on a Magpies' jersey as a 21-year-old in 1987, apart from one season with Avondale in the Northern Districts, resumes the reins.

He previously coached their A Grade team in 2007 and 2008 and has some unfinished business after losing the grand finals in both years to Across The Waves and Brothers respectively.

Since then, they also lost the 2010 decider to Brothers and twice bowed out in the preliminary finals, including a shock loss to Hervey Bay Seagulls in August.

Club committee member Scott McIntyre said they were delighted to appoint Thorpe as coach and Alan Herbert as his assistant and also their under-18 doyen, but that they were still negotiating with a prospective League 11's mentor.

He is hoping for a return to their glory days.

"We made do with what we had this year but we are in a rebuilding stage and we have some good juniors coming through," McIntyre said.

"We are happy absolutely to have Bruce in charge - he has been a very good player for the club and he's been a big part of our juniors over years.

"He's brought a lot through and that's why we think he's the best man for the job this year - he's got a good relationship with the kids and they are the future of the club.

"We've also got a fresh committee with AJ Evans as president and he's pumped, his wife Erin Evans the secretary, and Larissa Frohloff the treasurer, and we hope to retain most of our players, although we'll negotiate with Josh Essex when he gets back from France."

Thorpe said he was not sure what players they will have at this stage but he hopes to have the squad finalised before the start of their pre-season training in mid-January.

"I will work with whatever turns up, and it will also be good to have the help of Al Herbert and David Jones will have input as well," Thorpe said.

"We'll definitely looking to under-18 to fill some voids, and on past performances, we will have to work on defence - Easts have always been able to attack but defence has been a bit of a problem in the last few years."

The club will hold a sign-on for A Grade, League 11's, U-18, U-16 and women's at Easts Sports Club this aturday from 12.30pm and new players are welcome.

Enquiries, call McIntyre on 0437 199887.

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