After a strong season in which they fought through a host of injuries to reach the final four, the Mudgee Dragons are without a premier league coach for next year.
Peter Hickman, who coached the Dragons to the 2009 Group 10 title over Lithgow and returned to mentor the club's premier league side throughout 2017, has stepped aside due to family commitments.
This has prompted the Dragons’ committee to replace the premiership-winning kingpin ahead of the 2018 campaign.
Club secretary Kathy Lang knows the size of the shoes that must be filled but is optimistic the committee will find a suitable replacement.
“You lose years of experience and that local drive when someone like Peter steps away but we know the people we have in the mix are good candidates,” Lang said.
Despite being without a coach, the Mudgee Dragons have plenty to look forward to next season with former NRL star Jack Afamasaga expected to be a regular fixture in the club’s premier league squad.
The former Manly Sea Eagles forward missed almost the entire 2016 season with a foot injury and Lang expects him to be good to go for next year.
“The hope of the club is that he’ll be available to play and he’ll be fit and healthy to do so,” Lang said.
Lang and the Dragons’ committee also have their eyes fixed on the annual 9s competition which will held in Mudgee on the first weekend of March and will be a good pre-season hit out.
“We’re looking to run a ladies’ tackle format and also an under 18s competition as well.”
The Dragons are hoping to confirm the signing of a new coach in the coming weeks.