Sacked Panthers coach welcome addition to mentoring role Waratahs attack boost
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.