Skovgaard undecided

PAUL Skovgaard has received further endorsement to become Newcastle representative coach next season, but the man himself is undecided about pursuing the role.

Newcastle Rebels chairman of selectors John Crooks said this week that Skovgaard, the under-18s coach, was considered the likely successor to outgoing senior coach Peter Walsh.

"He was originally appointed to the under-18s job with the vision that he would move into the first-grade job once Spider [Walsh] was finished, however, I haven't had time to discuss that with Paul yet," Crooks said.

"After the 18s won we briefly spoke about it and he seemed content to stick with the 18s for a little while, so there's been no official decision made on that."

Skovgaard last month coached Newcastle's under-18 side to their first NSW Country title in 23 years and is in charge of the under-18 NSW Country side.

Walsh announced last Saturday after Newcastle lost 20-16 to Illawarra in the NSW Country Championship final at Cessnock that he would step aside. Walsh endorsed Skovgaard to be his successor.

Skovgaard, the 1998 NSW Country player of the year, applied to be the senior coach last year but said this week that he was unsure if 2011 was the right time to step into the role.

"It's something I've definitely got to weigh up because I enjoy working with the kids and winning is always a good feeling for me," Skovgaard said.

"Obviously coaching the first-grade side is something I aspire to at some stage, so I've just got to make a personal decision on what I want to do next year."

Skovgaard is a former Western Suburbs and Kurri Kurri captain-coach and was named at five-eighth in the Rosellas' team of the century in May.

He retired from playing in 2007 after winning a second straight grand final with Lakes United.

He also has an impressive playing resume in representative football.

He was a member of the last Newcastle side to win the Country championship, in 2006, when they beat Illawarra 56-8 and said those experiences would be a definite advantage if he decided to apply for the coaching role.

"I'll be more than confident going into a role of coaching first grade because I've played at that level for a while and I have a familiarity with what's required to win those championships," Skovgaard said.

However, Skovgaard is under no illusion that fours years without winning the title has created a mountain of pressure for Newcastle next year.

"Newcastle is always going to be one of the favourites, but now they're looking down the barrel of not winning for four years and they want to win it again, so there's definitely a challenge there," he said.

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