THE club remained tight-lipped but the body language of the man himself told the full story.
A smiling Danny Wicks returned to the Grafton Ghosts’ camp on Saturday for his first official hit-out since getting the go-ahead by the Country Rugby League to resume his faltering rugby league career.
The local product looked like the weight of the world had been lifted from him after the CRL’s decision to allow the former Newcastle Knights prop to take the field for his boyhood club.
Wicks was seen laughing with teammates and looked very much one of the boys when the Examiner snapped the exclusive pictures at the Ghosts’ pre-season inter-club trial. The scheduled hit-out with Orara Valley was called off due to the weather.
Ghosts’ coach Col Speed had his troops split into two squads with Wicks taking on his future teammates.
Wicks will face drug trafficking charges in Newcastle Local Court on March 31 and has been in limbo since putting his National Rugby League career on hiatus. After tearing up his $200,000 contract with the Knights in December he signed to play in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League competition.
But that move has been tangled in red-tape, namely whether the CRL would give him the green light.
Ghosts’ boss Speed refused to comment on the man himself but offered information on his first grade line-up.
“A lot of hard work has gone into this squad,” Speed said.
“It’s the best depth the club has had. Everyone is enjoying the training and it’s a really good feel around the club.”
Wicks was the undisputed star of the show when the two squads met.
“It’s the best numbers we have ever had,” Speed said.
“It was just a good hit-out for us. And it was a good chance to trial some players in new positions.”
Wicks’ spot in the engine room now looked assured at least for the opening few rounds.
The club will now take part in a pre-season competition featuring the Lower Clarence Magpies and Grafton Rhinos. A near all-local squad has been assembled by the Ghosts in 2010.
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