Mick Sullivan, the greatest: Five-time premiership winner to call time on decorated stint with Orange CYMS

CALLING TIME: Mick Sullivan will end his hugely successful term as coach of Orange CYMS at the end of 2018. Photo: PHIL BLATCH
CALLING TIME: Mick Sullivan will end his hugely successful term as coach of Orange CYMS at the end of 2018. Photo: PHIL BLATCH

One of the most decorated chapters in Group 10 history will come to a close at the end of 2018.

Mick Sullivan, the most celebrated captain-coach in Group 10, will depart Orange CYMS at the completion of this year after inking a deal with Wingham for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

Tigertown in Group 3 is Sullivan’s junior club and the chance to end a stunning bush career where it all began, and being close to his two sons on the Central Coast, helped lure the five-time Group 10 premier league title winning coach back to the north coast.

In seven decades, no coach has won as many first grade titles in Group 10 as Sullivan.

Premierships through the glittering Oberon Tigers era in the 1960s and the early 70s were shared between Rolf Trudgett (1963, 1964, 1966), Norm Brown (1965, 1967, 1971), Tony Paskins (1961, 1962) and Jock Schrader (1969, 1970).

Five titles for CYMS throughout the 1950s were also shared between coaches.

Sullivan’s five titles as a player is also impressive, but 10 titles and 13 grand finals as a player from Oberon’s Johnny Rush is likely to never be eclipsed. 

About to kick off his ninth-straight season in charge of the club, Sullivan made the announcement to the CYMS players last week at training, but the 37-year-old insists 2018 won’t be a farewell tour.

He’s hoping to add to an already formidable record at the helm of the club.

“I really want to win this year. I’m really motivated,” he said ahead of Sunday’s clash with the Dragons in Mudgee.

“The club goes on after I leave and it’s about leaving the club in good shape, finding someone to take over and adding to what we’ve got here now.

“I’d like to ensure the club remains successful.”

Sullivan admits initial advances between himself, a former Cronulla and Canterbury Bulldogs hooker in the NRL, and Wingham stemmed from little more than a joke, but over time the lure of reuniting to the Tigers was too great.

“Both of my kids are on the coast, it’s a shorter comp in Group 3 which will suit me,” he added.

“It’s been talked about and I thought it would never happen. The privilege to play with my junior club is too good an opportunity to turn down.

“It’s the right time to leave (CYMS).”

But he won’t be depart before 2018.

BACK IN THE DAY: Mick Sullivan during the 2010 grand final. Photo: CASS BLACKLOW

BACK IN THE DAY: Mick Sullivan during the 2010 grand final. Photo: CASS BLACKLOW

The defending premiers, Sullivan is determined to leave on a high and after grand final appearances in all bar one of his seasons at CYMS it’d take a brave man to predict the green and golds won’t again feature deep into the 2018 campaign.

Not with the most competitive man in Group 10 in charge.

Sullivan laughs at that tag.

“I can be a hot head, and some people might see it that way, but I think people see my desire to win,” he said.

“I believe we can win every game. I truly believe it.

“It’s something that’s always been in me. Dad instilled that in me and Mum was the same. We were taught to win as kids and I always aimed to impress my parents.”

The Mudgee club played in the 2010 grand final against Orange CYMS, Sullivan’s first year at the club, one where he helped the green and golds end a 22-year premiership drought.

So it seems fitting, after a round one bye for the green and golds, CYMS takes on a Dragons side fresh off a thumping round one triumph over Blayney.

Sullivan’s wary of a Mudgee outfit renowned as strong starters in Group 10.

“I believe you need to get on top early. Over there, if they get a start and they get their backs up and they’re tough to beat,” he said.

“If it’s even-stevens at half-time I think we can come home strong, I think we’ve proved that in the past. But I love going over there, Glen Willow is pristine.”

As is his stay at CYMS, win or lose in 2018.

“To have an extended period at a club like this has been a privilege,” Sullivan added.

CYMS travels to Mudgee on Sunday.

  • CYMS: 1 Tom Satterthwaite, 2 Dylan Wood, 3 Lachie Munro, 4 Joe Lasagavibau, 5 Semisi Tupou, 6 Luke Petrie, 7 Mick Sullivan, 8 Joe Duffy, 9 Ryan Griffin, 10 Cameron Jones, 11 Brock McGarity, 12 Robbie Mortimer, 13 Chris Grevsmuhl; Bench: 14 Tyrone Harrison, 15 Jerome Harrison, 16 Garrett Field.