Prodigal son, Mick Sullivan, has made a pledge to Wingham Rugby League Club’s legion of supporters.
“I’m not coming home to go through the motions,’’ Wingham’s captain-coach for the next two years said.
“I aim to win a premiership. I want to put Wingham back on the Group Three map with a premiership.”
Sullivan will be trying everything in his power to ensure Wingham is a front runner for the next two years.
“I don’t want our supporters asking why the club’s signed me,’’ he said.
Sullivan is a club junior who returns to Tiger Town after stints in the NRL with the Northern Eagles, Cronulla and Canterbury. For the past nine years he’s been captain-coach of Orange CYMS in the strong Group 10 competition. His record there was five premierships and seven grand finals in nine years. Sullivan is 38 but assures he’ll be playing.
“I’m back in training now and I’m feeling the best I have for years,’’ he said.
Sullivan alternated between hooker and halfback in his prime. However, he’s looking at playing in the halves next year, where he’ll team with the 2018 captain-coach Danny Russell.
Sullivan is 38 while Russell’s 36, so they can safely be described as veterans. However, Sullivan doesn’t see this as a liability.
“We can direct the team around and I know Danny had a good year last season,’’ he said.
“And if we’re getting shut down we can always make changes on the field.’’
He hasn’t seen much of the Tigers in recent seasons so he organised a training run for last weekend and will have a couple of more sessions before breaking for Christmas.
“I know they made the semi-finals this year, but I wanted to get an idea of what we have,’’ he explained.
Another ex-player-coach, the enigmatic Kurt Lewis will return to Wingham after spending last winter at Muswellbrook. Sullivan said the club is talking to a front rower from outside the area.
“But it’s not always about buying players – I found at Orange that sometimes it’s just finding the player who can best fill a position,’’ Sullivan explained.
He understands the last 10 years have been lean for clubs
in the southern section of Group Three with Hastings clubs dominating. Sullivan said that’s further incentive to make Wingham great again.
“I’d like to put it to those Port clubs,’’ he said.
Sullivan hasn’t yet decided where he’ll be based next year although it will be either on the Central Coast or Wingham. He assured the travel won’t bother him if he doesn’t move back to this area.
He last played for the club as an under 18 in 1997. He was drafted into the first grade side that season and played in the premiership winning team under coach Matt Robinson. Wingham beat Forster-Tuncurry in the grand final where Sullivan played against his older brother, Scott.
Sullivan admits it’s a bit surreal to be coming home to finish his career.
“I didn’t think it would ever happen, but when the opportunity came I grabbed it,’’ he said.
“Now I’m really looking forward to next year.’’
The Tigers haven’t won a premiership since 2003 and Sullivan said a victory lap is way overdue. He’ll be doing everything possible to ensure Wingham breaks the title drought in 2019.