Vikings overhaul includes old hand on reins

After claiming back to back titles in 2010 and 2011, the Blueys experienced a slide in the pecking order, missing the finals in 2012 and finishing fifth last season.

Shannon Fraser shared a co-coaching role with Mark Foster last season but will fill the role by himself this year. He has also been appointed Vikings club coach, overseeing every grade.

Fraser boasts impressive credentials, having previously worked with the NSW Waratahs and Western Force. He also had stints with Fiji Rugby and in the Japanese professional competition.

"Shannon has a glowing coaching record and he made an outstanding contribution in 2013 in his first year in charge of the club's top-grade side," Vikings general manager Nick Matts said.

"Shannon will juggle his commitments at our club with his roles as Illawarra Academy of Sport head coach and NSW Country Firsts coach."

Blueys officials are excited about the development of young prop Patrick Mau.

Mau was one of 21 Vikings players that lined up in Illawarra's teams at last weekend's NSW Country Championships in Mudgee.

Ten players were selected in the senior squad, while 11 Blueys represented the Illawarra Colts side.

"Patrick was a sensation in his first year with the Vikings Colts team in 2013," Matts said.

While preparations are progressing smoothly on the field, the Blueys have also given their home ground a facelift, building a retaining wall along the western side of the field. The clubhouse is undergoing an overhaul, with the old squash courts being replaced by a state-of-the-art gymnasium.

Vikings will host the resurrected 15-a-side pre-season tournament on Saturday, April 5.

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