Since Mick Sullivan announced 2018 was his last in charge of Orange CYMS there’s been one question on everyone’s lips – who will fill his ginormous shoes?
Many tipped the club to recruit another high profile mentor – retiring Cronulla legend Luke Lewis’ name was whizzing around the rumour mill recently, although that was shut down quickly by the club – while some suggested they’d be better off promoting someone from within to continue Sullivan’s work.
Late on Friday afternoon CYMS revealed they’ve done the latter by appointing local junior Dom Maley as coach, who’s won multiple premierships and has represented Group 10 and Western.
At this stage it’s unclear whether Maley will take the field much or purely act as a mentor, but either way CYMS president Dave Penny said he’s stoked.
“We’re really looking forward to 2019 now, it’s exciting,” he enthused.
“We sat down and had a chat with Dom on Thursday night and it’s definitely clear that he’s the right man for the job, he obviously has the respect of the playing group and is a great bloke too.
“He’s keen to get into it straight away, he was going to start contacting players [on Friday] and trying to finalise our squad for next year as early as he can, and start preparing.”
And what of the pressure that comes with the role?
There’s little doubt there will be some considering Sullivan’s nine-year stint netted five premierships and two other appearances in the big dance. The former NRL star is actually the most successful coach in Group 10 history too.
Penny, however, said Maley won’t be compared to Sullivan and will be encouraged to put his own spin on things and carve his own path in the role.
“It actually wasn’t an easy thing to do, replace Sully, because obviously after all the success we’ve had they’re big shoes to fill – figuratively of course,” Penny laughed.
“I think a lot of people thought ‘oh, no, I’d have to come in and immediately win the competition’.
“Winning premierships is great, certainly, but the main thing is we want to be competitive and continue building on the culture we’ve got and we think that will happen with Dom there.
“He'll have help from Rob Mortimer too, who will be first division coach, I’m sure they’ll form a pretty handy pairing there.”
Along with Maley and Mortimer, the other appointment that jumps off the page is that of Ben McAlpine, who’s been named under-18 coach.
It is unclear whether he’ll play or not, after fronting for Oberon in 2018.
“It’s just great to have someone like Macca back in the club,” Penny said.
“It was a goal of ours to get him back to CYMS and we’re pleased it’ll be in this role, although we’re not sure if he’ll play as well or not yet. I haven’t spoken to him personally about that, so I probably can’t comment on it.”
Adam Gibson was appointed the club’s under-18 league tag coach, while Mark Jasprizza retains his role as senior league tag coach.
From a behind the scenes perspective, the club’s annual general meeting is on October 29, with Penny confirming he’ll be standing for president again.