Wagga product and former NRL player Jack Littlejohn has signed on as captain-coach of Group 10 club Mudgee for 2019.
Dragons president Sebastian Flack described the signing of the former Manly and Wests Tigers halfback as being “our Mick Sullivan”.
Sullivan was picked up by Orange CYMS ahead of the 2010 season and stayed at the club for nigh on a decade, winning five premierships and guiding the club to seven grand finals.
And while Flack isn’t demanding similar success out of the club’s newly appointed coach, he’s certainly thinks a player of the ilk of the 27-year-old is capable of lifting the Dragons to the top of Group 10 in 2019.
“He’s going to be the best player in the comp … he will be the one to watch,” Flack said.
“He was a key player for NRL clubs so to say the other teams of the comp should be mindful of him is an understatement.”
Flack said the club has been working on signing a captain-coach since July, and “the best option came late”.
Littlejohn played 22 NRL games and 19 Super League games before calling time on his professional career.
He made his NRL debut for Manly in 2014 before linking with Wests Tigers the following season.
He was at the club for three years before signing a two-year deal with Salford.
However his first season with the Red Devils was cut short by a ruptured bicep in July and he was released in October by the club.
Flack believes it’s the biggest signing Mudgee has made since 1986, when the club nabbed Ron Hilditch to play in the red and white.
“In terms of singing anyone like this, we haven’t really done it before,” Flack said.
Flack is confident Littlejohn’s presence will both a shake-up Group 10 and provide a lot of positives for his club.
“When you get someone with that sort of quality it can boost your chances of winning, moral and the overall attitude of the club,” he added.
“It’ll bring extra supporters, extra sponsors, extra players - it’s a big deal.”
The effect of Littlejohn has already started, with the Dragons’ squad up 13 players already on last year.
“The people who were sitting on the fence, that are good players, will come 110 per cent now,” Flack said.
“(Jack's) in for the long haul.
“It’s stability, it’s a way forward. It’s a good fit for his family.”
The Flack-Littlejohn power couple now have their sights on the new season, with the aim to get the Dragons back playing finals footy after a disappointing seventh-place finish in 2018.
“We just want to be in the top three,” Flack said.
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