Speed’s eye to the future with return to Newtown
RUGBY LEAGUE: Newtown’s connection to the past has led them back into the Toowoomba Rugby League, and now a former favourite is looking to pave a way for the future.
Col Speed has signed on to take the reins as A-grade coach for the 2021 season, bringing the former player and coach back to the Bluebags for the first time since the early 2000s.
In more recent times, Speed has developed a reputation as one of the finest coaches in northern New South Wales, leading teams success.
After titles with the Grafton Ghosts and Coffs Harbour Comets, Speed believes the time is right for a return to one of country rugby league’s strongest competitions.
“I lived in Toowoomba for 20 years before I move down here (Grafton),” Speed said.
“I played at Newtown and coached there in the juniors and lower grades and have always kept in touch with the lads.
“My wife (Sharyn) was fortunate enough to get a job opportunity in Toowoomba, and I inquired about the possibility of coaching.
“I asked who the A-grade coach was, and they said it was me if I wanted it.”
Speed knows first hand the legacy that Newtown has in the region, and he said the task now was to translate that into success for the generations ahead.
“The response we’ve had from people has been great and highlights how wide the spread of support is,” he said.
“A couple of blokes in a retirement village have their rooms plastered with Newtown memorabilia, and asked if we could pop in and say hello.
“The interest is there and is great. While we respect the past, there’s a massive challenge in front of us to create the future.
“I’ve learnt a lot and know that a lot of hard work and sacrifice has gone into the success I’ve been able to come across.
“From my perspective, I have a lot of respect for guys like (Highfields coach) Gus McKellar who have set the bar.
“I know there’s a lot of hard work ahead, and it’s a massive challenge coming from competitions down here with around six or eight teams into a 12-team competition where there’s not much difference between teams at the top and bottom.
“We have to be up for every game if we want to be successful, and I’m looking forward to it.”
As for the two main things Speed wants out of his players in 2021.
“Accountability and the right attitude,” he said.
“You can’t roll up with a cigarette paper resume and expect a two-page contract. You have to be accountable, have a good attitude and bring a good work ethic.”
Originally published as Speed’s eye to the future with return to Newtown