Former NRL front-rower Luke Douglas is committed to the Ballina Seagulls as captain-coach with the NRRRL aiming to start in July. Photo file.
Former NRL front-rower Luke Douglas is committed to the Ballina Seagulls as captain-coach with the NRRRL aiming to start in July. Photo file.

Why former NRL star committed to stay at Ballina

FORMER NRL front-rower Luke Douglas remains committed as captain-coach at Ballina in Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League this season.

The 33-year-old played one trial game for the Seagulls when they hosted Grafton Ghosts before the season was shut down due to the coronavirus.

Douglas played 263 NRL games for the Cronulla Sharks and Gold Coast Titans before another 59 games with St Helens in the English Super League.

He said he had already made his toughest decision of the season in December when he elected to sign with Ballina instead of his junior club Lower Clarence.

"It was a hard decision and a lot of it came down to my work and study arrangements," Douglas said.

"I'm finishing a surveying course with Chris Abbott at Ballina and I'm living on the Gold Coast.

"I was also going to Brisbane one day a week so it was going to make playing for Lower Clarence very difficult with the amount of travel.

 

Titans player Luke Douglas crosses over to score during the Round 15 NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the Manly Sea Eagles at CBUS Stadium on the Gold Coast, Monday June 20, 2016. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Titans player Luke Douglas crosses over to score during the Round 15 NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the Manly Sea Eagles at CBUS Stadium on the Gold Coast, Monday June 20, 2016. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) DAVE HUNT

"Ballina has really welcomed me and I'm lucky there is lot of good people at the club."

A return date of July 18 has been pencilled in for NRRRL with Douglas excited to get back to club training when restrictions are lifted.

He has a decent squad at the Seagulls with the team aiming to win back-to-back premierships after taking out the title last year.

It will be his first time in a coaching role after a professional career which spanned 14 years.

He also takes over from former NRL star Jamie Lyon who spent a season as captain-coach last year at Ballina.

"I'm a bit of a rugby league nerd and I believe I have enough knowledge on the game to coach," Douglas said.

"I know what I want done and I can picture in my head how I want to get there.

"Jamie obviously did a great job and I want to continue on from that."

A return to training date has not been announced but will likely come at the end of next month.

"It's been hard for players to train and stay motivated with the social distancing," Douglas said.

"The talk of the season coming back has been a lot more positive than what we first heard.

"Fingers crossed it goes our way because I know everyone is excited to get back out there."