Sacked Pan­thers coach wel­come ad­di­tion to men­tor­ing role Waratahs at­tack boost

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT -

AXED NRL coach An­thony Grif­fin has found a new role help­ing the ri­val code, bob­bing up as a sur­prise con­sul­tant for the NSW Waratahs.

Coach Daryl Gib­son has turned to Grif­fin to help with his side’s at­tack ahead of the 2019 Su­per Rugby sea­son and the for­mer Pen­rith and Bris­bane men­tor is prov­ing a hit.

Sacked by the Pan­thers a month be­fore this year’s NRL fi­nals, Grif­fin jumped at the chance to run a half- hour ses­sion with the Waratahs backs in Syd­ney.

“He was re­ally good. It’s just dif­fer­ent ideas and dif­fer­ent ways of do­ing things,” at­tack coach Chris Whi­taker said yes­ter­day.

“We asked him to come in and do a cou­ple of sim­ple lit­tle plays we’ve been do­ing and ob­vi­ously the rugby league guys spend a lot of time run­ning lines and run­ning op­tions, and that’s why they’re so good at it.

“It was quite a sim­ple ses­sion but the boys took so much out of it, es­pe­cially me and Daryl. He’s given us a lot of ideas, that’s for sure.”

So im­pres­sive was he that Grif­fin’s ca­sual con­sul­tancy won’t be a one- off as the Waratahs look to build on last year’s run to the semi- fi­nals.

While the Tahs’ at­tack ended the 2018 cam­paign hum­ming, Gib­son has ident- ified his side’s de­fence, which leaked 68 tries this sea­son, as a wor­ry­ing weak­ness.

In ad­di­tion to em­ploy­ing for­mer long- time Ospreys coach Steve Tandy as full- time de­fence coach, the Waratahs will call on Grif­fin’s ex­pe­ri­ence in that de­part­ment too.

“Ob­vi­ously ( NRL sides) do a lot of tackle tech­nique, wrestling type of drills, things like that, which I think Steve would be pretty keen to get into the sys­tem as well,” Whi­taker said.

The Waratahs aren’t just us­ing Grif­fin to ex­pand their hori­zons, with Gib­son’s en­tire coach­ing staff plan­ning to ob­serve a Cronulla Sharks train­ing run next week.

• MAS­TER kick­ing coach Dave Alred, the man who honed the su­per­boot of Jonny Wilkinson, is be­ing tar­geted for a key role at the Queens­land Reds.

If the Reds can pull off the Alred coup it would com­plete the ma­jor upgrade of coach­ing acu­men at the club for next year’s Su­per Rugby sea­son.

Head coach Brad Thorn has al­ready beefed up his sup­port­ing cast with for­mer Wal­la­bies’ at­tack coach Jim McKay and de­fen­sive taskmas­ter Pe­ter Ryan.

A men­tor to de­velop the goal­kick­ing of first- choice fly­half Hamish Ste­wart is es­sen­tial be­cause the Reds are off the pace in this vi­tal area.

The exit of Jono Lance, with his smooth 77 per cent suc­cess rate this year, and the achilles in­jury to James Tut­tle, a 15from- 17 sharp­shooter when called on, has de­pleted the op­tions.

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