Ask Joe Spicer and this was always part of the plan.
Hang up the boots, coach a premiership-winning side then take on the top job at Parkes, or as he puts it “get into the side of things beyond coaching”.
Spicer was voted in as the club’s new president at the Parkes annual general meeting – taking over from Jamie Pope - not long after coaching the club’s league tag girls to another Group 11 premiership with a 22-10 victory over Westside on grand final day.
Part of the club’s 2013 first grade triumph, too, Spicer knows what it takes to be successful and he’s confident of leading a resurgence on board the spaceship in 2019.
He says a stronger link with the prodigiously strong Parkes juniors and adding depth to the senior ranks were two of his main priorities.
“So far so good… we’ve had a fantastic response from existing sponsors, and that’s a priority, too, to make sure all of those supporters are happy,” Spicer said.
“The best thing so far is Dennis (Moran) is elected as the junior rugby league president. I’ve got a close relationship there with Dennis from our playing days.
READ MORE: Dennis Moran era comes to an end at Parkes
“We want to connect those two clubs, with the boys and girls, and that’s a focus.
“As a club we’re in a good position at the moment, we’re just solidifying everything done over the last couple of years.”
Spicer said he contemplated having a crack at the presidency last season, but had a pre-booked holiday mid-year and didn’t want his first attempt at running the Spacemen to be half-hearted.
“I wanted to do it right the first time,” he said.
“We’ve got a reasonably new committee. We’re just defining those roles now and getting things in place. We started a bit behind the eight ball last year so we’re just making sure we’re ahead of the game.”
Spicer said the club hasn’t put pen to paper with any players as yet, but was confident of retaining the bulk of last year’s squad and adding both quality and quantity in 2019.
That may include 2017 Group 11 player of the year Sam Dwyer, too – the star fullback opting not to re-link with Bathurst St Pat’s in Group 10 in 2019.
“There’s nothing I’d like more than to see Sammy back in the red, white and blue,” Spicer added.
“Depth is important, too. At the back end of last year we had niggles but still threw together a pretty good team… but other clubs had more depth and we got blown away in the last three games.”
Spicer believes working alongside Moran as the junior rugby league president will feel “pretty natural”.
The pair played first grade together between 2009 – when the NRL playmaker arrived in Parkes – and 2014, when Spicer retired.
“Dennis brought another level of professionalism and success to the game, we went from a competitive side to a benchmark side,” Spicer said.
“I’ve always had a good relationship with Dennis – we have similar ideas and similar work ethics, it will consolidate what we’ve done.”
Among the plans to connect the two clubs include involving the seniors with training the juniors; having junior players involved with the senior games on Sundays, such as playing during half time and being ball boys; and inviting the 16s to train with the seniors to make the transition between juniors and seniors easier.
There are also plans for the senior and junior league tag players to come together for combined training sessions.
“We want to give our kids skills and knowledge of the game as much as we can,” Spicer said.
Moran is looking forward to his first presidential role, saying he stepped up to the job to have a go and to support the kids.
He’s aiming to make the clubs uniform.
“The one colour right through,” Moran said.
“I want to make sure the kids have something to be proud of.”
Moran and Spicer are also hoping to generate more support from across the community, not only at games but club functions too.
“We want to have as much support as we possibly can, and that’s support not only from younger generations but older generations as well,” Moran said.
“We’d love to see those older generations coming out to watch games.”