Spacemen president Joe Spicer is hoping a fresh approach will rocket the Parkes club back to the top of the Group 11 ladder in 2019.
The club has appointed club legend Brent Wood as first grade coach ahead of next season, the non-playing role the first time the Spacemen won’t be mentored by a captain-coach in a decade.
Will Harris was the last non-playing Parkes coach in 2009, and since then the likes of Dennis Moran, Pat Rosser and Alex Prout have taken the reins, with mixed success.
But Spicer believes giving the keys to the Spaceship to Wood, a best and fairest winner with the club in 2006, will give Parkes a much-needed shake-up heading into the new season.
And given the recent success of such a model – non-playing coaches Tim Ryan and Cameron Greenhalgh have both guided their respective clubs to premierships in recent seasons – Spicer is hopeful the change might net the club its first top grade title in six years, too.
“He’s going to bring a fresh set of eyes to the club, which is great,” Spicer said.
“He knows a lot about the last couple of years but not necessarily the players we have, so it’s a fresh approach in that regard. He’ll see things we haven’t seen in the last few years.”
A (non-playing coach) wasn’t a priority, but with Forbes and CYMS’ recent success I can definitely see the benefit.Spacemen president Joe Spicer on new coach Brent Wood.
Wood won’t play, but he’ll certainly be leading from the front.
“He was quietly spoken as a player, but his actions said everything – he’s old school and very fitness and defence oriented,” Spicer added.
“He’ll do all the training with the team himself. He sets high standards and, as a player, always delivered. We expect the same as coach.”
Spicer said the club had six applications to coach the top grade side in 2019, some of which would have been captain-coach options, but Wood was the best fit.
“A (non-playing coach) wasn’t a priority, but with Forbes and CYMS’ recent success I can definitely see the benefit,” Spicer said.
CONFIRMED— Nick McGrath (@nickmcgrath4) December 7, 2018
Parkes has signed 2006 best and fairest Brent Wood as coach of the Spacies first grade side for next season.
President Joe Spicer announced the signing to the playing group last night, and has set his sights on a number of key players to finalise the squad.#Group11pic.twitter.com/JDZySP0enC
“Mags will bring a host of ex-players in as assistants as well. And, again, it’ll be a fresh set of eyes, basically people trying to better each individual.”
Since leaving Parkes at the end of 2006 and then returning to coach the club’s under 18s in 2008, Wood has had stints coaching on the Central Coast and in Newcastle.
Wood’s reign as Spacemen coach began on the weekend when he put Parkes’ senior players through their first session.
With the coaching roles at the club now finalised – Wood’s appointment follows the announcement of Sam Dwyer (under 18s), Dave Robinson (reserve grade) and Tyannua Goolagong (league tag) as lower grade mentors for 2019 – Spicer said the club attention is now on shoring up the Spacies’ playing squad.
A number of former Parkes players are on the club’s radar, including 2018 Cowra rake Benjamin John and Orange Hawks prop Ethan McKellar.
“We’ve got a few still in negotiation. Eth McKellar would be good but he’s got a meeting in Newcastle this week,” Spicer said.