NORTH Tamworth Bears celebrated their Christmas party and sign-on day all in one at Jack Woolaston Oval on Saturday.
And they will head into a new season with a new president and new coach.
Jodie Cooper takes over the reins as president of the North Tamworth Rugby League Football Club while Clayton Cup-winning coach Brad McManus returns to spearhead the Bears’ first grade side.
McManus coached the side to an epic 2014 Group 4 premiership that also won them a Clayton Cup.
Last season, Zac Russ had a lash after McManus elected to stand down and take a rest.
He did “run the bench” for Russ last year though.
“I missed it a lot,” McManus admitted on Saturday.
“I was still involved and helped out.
“I ran the bench for Zac but it wasn’t the same.
“I missed the involvement with the boys at training so I thought I’d put my hat back in the ring.”
The Bears committee elected to run with McManus for a return bout and it appears Russ will also “hang around”, McManus said.
“The majority of the side will be back too,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to it.”
Tom Learoyd-Lahrs might also have a run with the Bears too if the former Canberra Raiders’ knees can stand up to it.
“I’m also talking to Shaun Ferguson. Getting him back from Dungowan would be good for us,” McManus added of a Christmas wish list.