Incoming Macquarie Raiders president Ross McDermott wants to create change at the club and is hopeful the appointment of Dylan Hill as coach is a gamble that pays off and helps that happen.
Hill is set to become one of the youngest mentors in Group 11 after being confirmed as the Raiders coach for 2018.
It is one of a number of changes at Macquarie with former Group 11 secretary Ross McDermott taking on the club’s presidency while Chris Daley will coach reserve grade and Gilgandra’s Tony Sutherland is coming across to coach the league tag side.
Being 25-years-old, Hill is an example of what McDermott wants from the club – younger people taking taking their chance.
“It’s a good opportunity to step up. We want a bit of a change of direction and push the juniors,” McDermott said, before speaking about the new coach.
You have to take a gamble sometimes and I think we’ve taken a gamble on the right person.Ross McDermott
“He’s a young fella and he said in his application he is learning and it’s a big step but we reassured him he won’t be doing it alone and the right people will support him and we all left with a positive attitude.
“You have to take a gamble sometimes and I think we’ve taken a gamble on the right person. He’ll give it 110%.”
Hill was a Raiders junior before making the move to Sydney where he spent time at the Cronulla Sharks.
He returned home after a stint there and linked with Westside, before returning to Macquarie.
Unfortunately for the hard-working forward, recent seasons have been plagued by serious knee injuries and long stint in rehab.
It’s still uncertain whether Hill will play in 2018 after missing all of last season.
“He’s going to pay attention to fitness and dedication to training,” McDermott said, adding there was five applicants for the coach’s role.
“He’s a quiet achiever and he’s actually applied for it the last two years and missed out. He’s really keen to get involved with it.
“He’s been exposed to a high level and he’s seen what’s needed to achieve and you’ve seen other clubs benefit from players who have come back from Sydney.”
The changes on the playing roster don’t change there with McDermott stating former Cronulla Shark and Dubbo CYMS player Isaac Gordon is set to wear blue in 2018.
Gordon, who scored 10 tries in 29 games in the NRL, spent time with the Fishies in 2016 before returning to his hometown side of Brewarrina last year.
McDermott said he will have a key role to play at the club while also confirming the Raiders have had discussions with Forbes’ Jesse Wighton.
The versatile back played Western Rams under 23s last season but is set to move to Dubbo with his partner in December.
“We’ve had discussions and met with him just two weeks ago but there’s no guarantees,” McDermott said.
“There is another club involved in the talks but we are interested. We are focused on youth though so we’re not going to make a lot of these major signings. I think we just need three or four players to add to what we’ve got.”
McDermott also thanked former president ands first grade coach Steve McLellan for his efforts, stating he did nothing wrong but there was a need for change at the club.
“We just need to re-think the process a bit and we’ve all had discussions and agree fifth is not good enough and we’re striving to finish in a higher spot,” he said.