Hervey Bay’s Mark Cassidy is looking forward to coaching the Wide Bay rugby union team.
Hervey Bay’s Mark Cassidy is looking forward to coaching the Wide Bay rugby union team. Alistair Brightman

Cassidy in from the wilderness

MARK Cassidy has dusted off his clipboard and come out of the rugby union wilderness.

The opportunity to take charge of the Wide Bay representative team has lured the former Fraser Coast Mariners coach out of retirement.

Cassidy, a Hervey Bay physiotherapist, spent three years coaching the Mariners in the Sunshine Coast Rugby Union competition before giving it away in 2006.

A father of three young children, Cassidy hung up his coaching whistle because he wanted to spend more time with his family rather than spend it on the road with the Mariners travelling up and down the Bruce Highway.

Coaching Wide Bay won’t interfere with Cassidy’s home life – well, not on a weekly basis at least.

Sure there will be travel involved but Cassidy is sure he and his family can cope with some time apart.

The 46-year-old won’t have to wait long to see if that is the case.

Cassidy and his Wide Bay team, an outfit which includes players from the Fraser Coast, Gympie and Bundaberg, made the long bus trip to Tieri, about 85km from Emerald, yesterday to tackle their first assignment.

They will take on the Outback Barbarians in a game which means more than 80 minutes of effort.

Wide Bay officials are keen to see if this new-look team will be up to the rigours of contesting the annual Queensland Country Championships.

Cassidy said he was sure that the showdown in Tieri will provide officials with what they need to know.

“The Outback line-up is a talented one – they won’t make it easy for us,” Cassidy, who worked as physio at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, said.

“Saying that, we’ve got a good line-up on paper and we’re looking forward to the challenge.

“We’ve trained well and we’re raring to go.”

But why did Cassidy decide to take on the coaching role?

“It was a great chance to be involved at this level of the game,” he said.

“I found it too tempting and besides, the games are few and far between.

“I’ll be right.”



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