NEW Wanderers coach Ellis Meachen has launched a scathing attack on No.8 Dan Kevill, who sensationally switched back to rivals Merewether Carlton last night to set the scene for an explosive season opener today at Townson Oval.
Kevill, man of the match in Wanderers’ 2009 grand final triumph, was a key player in Merewether’s unbeaten Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union season last year.
But he signed to return to the Two Blues for this campaign only to change back last night.
Meachen, who has taken over from Dan Beckett, said Kevill trained with the Two Blues second-grade squad on Thursday night. He said Kevill was to start in second grade because of his lack of time at training.
He was unsure why the 2009 Anderson Medal winner had gone back to the Greens but suggested it was because he was not a team player.
‘‘I met him for coffee, we discussed the season and he seemed really positive and an intelligent rugby player. He seemed a likeable guy,’’ Meachen said.
‘‘We are going to play a reasonably structured game.
‘‘Maybe he didn’t like being part of a show that’s not all about him. I don’t know, you’d have to ask him.
‘‘I’m pretty sure you’ll find that there’s no ‘i’ in team, or Wanderers for that matter.’’
But the New Zealander, a former Sri Lankan national coach, was not fazed at losing the skilful ball-runner.
‘‘He told me he wanted to stay and play with his mates and he really loved the club and he regretted going to Merewether,’’ he said. ‘‘But if he wants to play for Merewether, good luck to him.
‘‘In rugby, one person doesn’t make a team. One person never wins you a championship. Sure, the others will put someone in a position to shine, but there’s plenty of other players in that Wanderers team that can shine.’’
Kevill did not return a call from the Herald last night.
Merewether coach Stacey Sykes said Kevill and Mitch Gibson had deregistered with Wanderers and signed for the Greens late yesterday.
‘‘That’s the way they wanted to go,’’ Sykes said. ‘‘I don’t know the reason why they left but we’ll accept them.’’
Sykes said both players would start in the lower grades, but he expected Kevill to be a key man for his side in the near future.
‘‘He doesn’t need a lot of work to get fit. He’s a good athlete,’’ he said.
Sykes, who took the Greens to an unbeaten season in his first year in charge, will field a new-look side.
Meachen said he will have to rely on familiar combinations, like the Sherwood brothers Mark, Nathan and Luke, after a poor pre-season.
He was critical of some players’ approach to training, saying he only met some of the players this week, and said he was determined to change it.
In other games, Lake Macquarie host Nelson Bay at Walters Park, Hamilton take on University at Passmore Oval, Southern Beaches take on Maitland at Marcellin Park and The Waratahs are on the road to Singleton.