STRONG: Devils and Crushers players meet last season. Both clubs are preparing for 2017 fixtures.
STRONG: Devils and Crushers players meet last season. Both clubs are preparing for 2017 fixtures. JAMES LOOSE

Devils set a date while Crushers secure new blood

RUGBY LEAGUE: Despite not having a coach, president or indication of how many players they have, the Gympie Devils will start pre-season training later this month in a bid to begin their 2017 campaign on the front foot.

At the helm last season, Darren Burns has stepped down from the top coaching job but has retained his spot on the Devils committee.

The former Bronco is not worried about the late start, saying his club still has "specific details to finalise”.

Burns said the Devils were still no closer to formally announcing a coach for 2017 but indicated a few candidates had "put their hat in the ring”.

While it seems likely the blue and gold will field an under-18 team, the senior ranks are yet to be decided with the possibility of an A-grade side still up in the air.

"My gut feeling is we will have one division two side,” Burns said.

The club will meet next week with the first training run of the new year scheduled for Tuesday, January 17, at Jack Stokes Oval.

In other rugby league news, the Nambour Crushers have secured the services of veteran player and coach Ben Olsen.

Olsen, who played in two BRL grand finals for the Ipswich Jets in the 1980s before he skippered the London Broncos in England, replaces Danny Bebbington after his two-season stint at Crusher Park.

He will this year aim to lift the Crushers from the bottom of the Division 1 ladder, as the side seeks its first premiership since 2005.

Club president Brad Beetson said it was a major boost to have someone who understood the club well take on the top job.

Olsen most recently coached the Crushers' under-18s.

Gympie Times


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