New coaches named to take Mako reins

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - CLASSIFIEDS - TIM O’CON­NELL

Show­ing con­fi­dence in its cur­rent tal­ent pool Tas­man rugby has re­sisted the urge to cast its net in an­nounc­ing next year’s Mako coach­ing team.

Fol­low­ing last month’s 21-16 loss to Canterbury in the Mitre 10 Cup pre­mier­ship semi-fi­nal, head coach Leon Mac­Don­ald heads to Auck­land to take up a three-year deal as as­sis­tant and at­tack coach at the Blues.

His de­par­ture has seen as­sis­tant coaches An­drew Good­man and Clarke Der­mody pro­moted to joint head coach roles.

As­sis­tant coach Shane Christie will take re­spon­si­bil­ity for the for­wards, while Red Devils,Tas­man B and Marl­bor­ough Boys Col­lege 1st XV coach Gray Cor­nelius - the sole new­comer to the coach­ing team - has been named as backs and at­tack coach.

A three-test All Black and for­mer South­land cap­tain, Der­mody joined the Mako this year fol­low­ing four sea­sons with the South­land Stags be­tween 2014-17.

He also spent a sea­son in Ja­pan coach­ing the Sanix Blues in 2014.

Good­man was pleased to wel­come Cor­nelius to the Mako setup, given his proven track record at age-group and rep­re­sen­ta­tive level.

‘‘He’s a lo­cal lad and it’s go­ing to be awe­some hav­ing some­one based over in Blen­heim look­ing over the wider train­ing group but also com­ing out to Nel­son to run the academy skills as well he’s done a great job with Marl­bor­ough Boys’ es­pe­cially in the last few years and I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to hav­ing him on board.’’

Save for overseas play­ing stints in Ire­land and Ja­pan, Good­man has been in­volved with the Makos since their 2006 for­ma­tion.

He said thanks to the lega­cies of coach­ing pre­de­ces­sors like Mac­Don­ald, a cul­ture within the team had de­vel­oped which in­spired a win­ning at­ti­tude among play­ers and staff.

‘‘I’m very pas­sion­ate about the re­gion and I’ve been through some hard times with the union, so it’s great to be on the other side of things now and see where the prov­ince has come with all the young kids now grow­ing up as­pir­ing to play for the Mako.’’

While Mac­Don­ald’s pres­ence would be sorely missed at the Mako, Good­man be­lieved he was in­her­it­ing a team in good shape to fi­nally se­cure a maiden pre­mier­ship ti­tle.

‘‘We’ve been pick­ing Rangi’s brains ever since he’s been here, firstly as a player my­self but last three years as an as­sis­tant, just tak­ing in as much as I can be­cause ob­vi­ously he’s been a big part of why we’ve been so suc­cess­ful over the last few years.’’

‘‘I’ve got my lit­tle note­book that I’ve been jot­ting ideas down - he’s im­parted a lot of knowl­edge on us so hope­fully we can use that to make sure the prov­ince is suc­cess­ful in years to come.’’

Re­sults of the team’s 2018 re­views would be avail­able to man­age­ment in the com­ing days, which would al­low them to pin­point some fo­cus ar­eas for next year. ‘‘I don’t think there’s too much we need to change in the way we play ... we just have to keep get­ting bet­ter and see how we can keep mov­ing for­ward as a union, get re­sults and try and knock it over and get that W at the end of the year.’’ With the pro­vin­cial sea­son done and dusted, Good­man and Der­mody will re­turn to their Su­per Rugby roles with the Cru­saders and High­landers re­spec­tively at the end of the month. Christie and Cor­nelius will hold the fort in their co­coaches ab­sence.

EVAN BARNES/GETTY IMAGES

Mako co-coach An­drew Good­man is keen to fi­nally de­liver a maiden pre­mier­ship ti­tle for the Tas­man faith­ful in part­ner­ship with Clarke Der­mody (in­set).

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