Rugby union: Hastings Valley Vikings commence search for 2018 first and second grade coaches

Heartbreaking: Hastings Valley Vikings will use this year's grand final defeat to spur them on in 2018.
Heartbreaking: Hastings Valley Vikings will use this year's grand final defeat to spur them on in 2018.

THE pain of a heartbreaking 36-35 grand final loss to Southern Cross University Marlins will be the driving factor for Hastings Valley in 2018.

Just eight weeks after the one-point defeat in the season decider, the Vikings have already started preparations for next season.

Club president Chris Trutwein said there would be a few new faces with Mark Howard not expected to return and they were also looking for a second-grade coach as well.

“The new coach will have some help with former Viking Chris Johnson coaching the lineouts and rucks and mauls like he did last year,” Trutwein said.

“I’ve had a bit of a chat with Gil Hopley about playing some sort of a role as well because all the boys just love him.

“He’s also the type of bloke that will pull them in line if need be.”

Trutwein admitted some of last year’s first grade squad were already planning to return to the grand final winner’s list next season.

Second grade won its fourth successive title.

“There is a lot of banter between the first and second graders already,” he said.

“We’ve mentioned to the first graders that second grade could be like the St George Dragons and win 11 titles in a row.”

Hastings Valley have also sent scouts to New Zealand in the hope of securing a marquee player for their backline to replace players such as Andrew West and Glen Littler.

Trutwein said a centre or fly-half was the goal.

Pre-season training will start with games of social touch football in November.

For further information about the coaching roles, contact Chris Trutwein on 0438 180 297.