Title hopes rest on coaching changes

CQU Norths Chargers crowd favourite Charlie Beresford has answered an SOS and will lead the defending Central Queensland Extended League champions in 2006.

The Chargers have been rocked by the resignation of premiershipwinning coach Darryl Horstman this week for personal reasons.

Horstman, who will stay involved with the Rockhampton and Extended League premiers as a skills coach, has been replaced by former captain-coach Beresford.

Horstman confirmed yesterday he had "relinquished the head coaching position''.

"I'm just taking a bit of time off for personal reasons,'' Horstman told The Morning Bulletin.

Making his return after a season away from the game, Beresford said he would resume a player-coach role at the Chargers.

"I'll have the coach's name next to me, but we'll be all working in together,'' Beresford said.

"If I can find a spot for myself in the team then I'll have a run.''

The coaching change at the Chargers this week follows reports of a Gladstone top-grade coach being shown the door before the 2006 season kick-off.

Former Gold Coast and South Queensland Crushers forward Brett Horsnell was sacked by Tannum Sands this week and will be replaced by former Queensland and Australian hardman Gary Larson, who will take over as caretaker coach.

He joins Shane Kenward, who resigned from his post at fellow battlers Valleys, as a pre-season coaching casualty.

It will be Larson's first coaching appointment in this region since his stint with the Central Comets Queensland Wizard Cup side in 2002.

The Gladstone Local League begins this weekend, with the Chargers launching their title defence in the season opener against Yeppoon on Saturday week.

The new-look Extended League competition starts in June.

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