Teacher joins Stott brothers as Dragons Coaches for 2013
By BEN HARRIS
Peter McDonnell knows he has the toughest job in the Dragons den for 2013.
The Mudgee Public School teacher takes over the reins from Shane and Aaron Weatherley after the brothers ended the Dragons’ 26-year premiership drought in first division.
It’s no easy feat winning a premiership; it is even more difficult to defend one.
“It is a lot of pressure, everyone wants to beat us,” McDonnell said. “It’s going to be good trying to defend our premiership... if that is not motivation to do well.”
McDonnell joins brothers Mat and Andy Stott as the three Dragons coaches for next year.
Andy continues as the under 18s coach; he took the young Dragons to the minor premiership only for the side to be eliminated in the preliminary final by eventual premiers Bathurst St Pats.
Older sibling Mat said he had “unfinished business” in premier league.
Heading into the final round of the 2012 season, Mudgee was second on the ladder but finished fourth after losing to Oberon.
A week later in the semi-final, the Tigers eliminated the Dragons from the Group 10 race.
It is a bitter pill that Mat is still finding difficult to swallow.
“I’m very disappointed with how we finished last season,” Mat said.
“We travelled in the top two for the bulk of the season and finished fifth.”
Mat said he was confident the Dragons - who won the 2012 club championship - could have another successful season next year.
The former Western Ram representative said 90 per cent of his team have signed on for 2013 but he was more excited at the prospect of McDonnell.
“I think Peter will do a good job,” Mat said.
McDonnell has had limited coaching experience. Apart from coaching Mudgee Public School teams, his only other coaching appointment was the Dragons’ under 12s, who missed the finals this season.
But “Pete Mac” said he has got the drive.
“I think I will go OK. Basically I just have to motivate the guys and give them the drive of wanting to win. That is the hardest part of it,” McDonnell said.
“I knew Shane wanted to have a break because he has got young kids... it is something I’ve always wanted to do,” McDonnell said.
“I look forward to something different; I can’t play footy forever, I’m one of those guys that wants to but I know I can’t so this is something else I can try.
“The Dragons have looked after me, I’ve enjoyed my time there so I thought I would give back to the club.”
It’s an exciting time for Group 10 with possibly 10 teams competing in each grade next year and the Parramatta Eels playing the Gold Coast Titans in an NRL match on the Dragons’ home ground at Glen Willow on May 26.
The Dragons faithful will have an opportunity to meet their coaches for 2013 at the club’s Christmas party on December 16 at the Mudgee Golf Club.
Mudgee’s first match of the 2013 season will be the annual trial match against Windsor Wolves for the Garry Longhurst trophy.