Riddle ready for new phase

BIG forward Joel Riddle’s rugby career moves into its next phase next season, when he steps into a coaching role with the Southern Cross University Marlins.

The former Port Pirate is expecting plenty of heat from his old club when the season begins, but is looking forward to imparting some of his knowledge, and size, on the Marlins pack. The man they call Woodie will coach the forwards for the Marlins, a club he used to play for.

Riddle has already tried to take a couple of Pirates up there with him.

“It’s hard to get them to Coffs,” he said. He’s excited by the prospect of a challenging role though.

“They have a lot of young fellas coming through,” he said. “It will be good to give a bit of size to their pack.

“Last year a few sides, like the Pirates and the Vikings, smacked them around the field a bit because of their size.”

The departing Riddle paid tribute to the Pirates for some good times, both on the field and off it.

“I had the time of my life there,” he said. Even when I was playing for the Marlins.”

Plenty of phone calls for beer would be made, before the teams took to the park to slug it out.

“I don’t see any difference in that,” he said. 

Riddle said he couldn’t wait for the first match between the two teams.

“Once the whistle goes it might be on for young and old,” he said.

Pirates president Steve Shields was full of praise for Riddle. “He’s been a huge asset to the Pirates,” Shields said. “He’s an exceptional player and a true club person, and always plays to his fullest. He is always welcome back at Pirates.”

Pirates kick off their preseason training on January 8.

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