VIDEO: Matthew Elliott signed as new Vodafone Warriors Head Coach
Friday 12 October 2012 8:36 AM
Vodafone Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah today announced experienced NRL and English Super League coach Matthew Elliott has been signed on a two-year contract as the club’s new head coach.
Scurrah said Elliott, who becomes the eighth head coach since the club started in 1995, will take up his role immediately to launch the Vodafone Warriors’ 2013 NRL campaign.
The appointment followed a robust and integrated process involving Scurrah, Vodafone Warriors recruitment and development manager Dean Bell and chairman Bill Wavish, with input throughout from other board members as well as owners Owen Glenn and Eric Watson.
“We’re thrilled to secure a coach of Matthew’s calibre,” said Scurrah.
“He’s had wide experience and success with a number of clubs, initially making his mark winning titles with Bradford in the English Super League and also taking Canberra and Penrith to the NRL finals a total of five times.
“While we have spoken to a number of contenders, Matthew consistently impressed us every time we met him with his total vision of how our football programme should be structured and run.
“Through his long association with the game as a player and especially as a coach, he appreciates as much as anyone just what’s required to achieve the standards we are striving for.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Matthew as head coach to shape our football department to enable us to become a consistent threat in the NRL. Our ultimate goal will always be to win premierships and, in Matthew, we have secured a coach not only capable of achieving this but also with the skills and vision to build a stronger total football club.”
Glenn and Watson said Elliott would deliver significant long-term benefits to the club.
Glenn said: “In my interview with Matthew, I was immensely impressed by the clarity of his vision for the Vodafone Warriors in the years to come. Having personally made the commitment to add substantial resources to the club, I came away very confident that he will have a hugely positive impact on our team.”
From England, Watson added: “Matthew has coached at the highest levels in both Australia and here in England and he is held in the highest regard. I’m convinced he will not only significantly improve all aspects of our performance, assisted by us providing better training resources, but he will also attract more top-level experienced people to join him.”
The Thursday Island-born Elliott (47) has held head coaching positions with Bradford, Canberra and Penrith while he was assistant coach with the Sydney Roosters this season.
“I’m elated to take up this role with the Vodafone Warriors,” he said.
“This is not just a job. It’s a unique opportunity to harness a big organisation with the potential to deliver sustained success.
“In my meetings with Eric, Owen, Bill, Wayne and Dean I could not help but be enthused with their determination and vision to unlock that potential and the player talent available to the club.
“I’m also hugely encouraged by the commitment the management, board and owners have made to resourcing and supporting the football operation to the highest level possible.
“This is a massive opportunity for us all and I can’t wait to get on with it.”
Elliott is one of the most experienced operators in the game today, boasting 14 seasons and more than 360 games as a head coach with Bradford in the English Super League plus Canberra and Penrith in the NRL. Twice named Super League Coach of the Year, he won a Super League championship and Challenge Cup with the Bulls, led the Raiders to the NRL finals four times in five seasons and the Panthers to their only finals campaign in the last eight seasons when they finished second in the minor premiership in 2010.
Scurrah said Elliott, who has a sports science degree, would benefit from the best-resourced football department the Vodafone Warriors have had in their history.
“It’s no surprise after watching the NRL’s top two sides Melbourne and the Bulldogs this year that a huge investment in sports science and resourcing is an absolute requirement. It is central to their success as is the size and depth of their playing rosters and the integrated approach they take in running their teams through all levels of their organisations.
“We’ve learned so much through internal and external reviews we’ve been doing since July and even more throughout the process of appointing Matthew as our new coach. It’s enabled us to benchmark ourselves against best-practice models in Australia.”
Vodafone Warriors chairman Bill Wavish added: “In the lengthy review and recruitment process which I sat in on, I was impressed by the depth of the process, the remarkable progress NRL coaching methods and technology have made in the last couple of years and how much one can discover about best practices by talking to potential coaches.”
Scurrah said Elliott would be involved in further announcements in the coming weeks about bolstering the football organisation.
He also confirmed the Vodafone Warriors are active in the market looking to sign players to cover areas Elliott had identified. They’ll join the three players already acquired for 2013 – Melbourne premiership winners centre Dane Nielsen and loose forward Todd Lowrie plus returning 2003-2004 Vodafone Warrior Thomas Leuluai, the Wigan halfback who was also a member of the Kiwis’ winning campaigns at the 2008 Rugby League World Cup and the 2010 Four Nations.
Vodafone Warriors recruitment and development manager Dean Bell said a constant theme had emerged during the club’s review and recruitment processes.
“We met and talked to many coaches and the thing that struck me most was the enthusiasm for the Vodafone Warriors in terms of the immense talent pool available throughout the club,” he said.
“This was without doubt our most attractive feature to potential coaches.”
Scurrah said Elliott’s arrival would coincide with one of the most-anticipated – and well overdue – changes to the NRL season following the introduction of a fixed schedule for the first time in 2013.
“It’s a change which is going to be enormously beneficial to us as a club and to Vodafone Warriors members and fans both here and in Australia because they’ll know exactly where and when our teams will be playing in the first 20 rounds of the season,” he said.
“While they’ll be able to plan their weekends for home games or book trips for away games with confidence months in advance it will also be of critical value to Matthew, his staff and our players in their planning for games.
“We are more severely affected by travel than any other club in the NRL but, with fixed dates and times, it will be much easier to plan all aspects of our football operation.”
The full 2013 draw including specific dates, times and venues for the first 20 rounds is due to be released next month.
· Matthew Elliott becomes the fourth Australian to coach the Vodafone Warriors.
· The previous coaches have been John Monie (1995-1997), Frank Endacott (1997-1998), Mark Graham (1999-2000), Daniel Anderson (2001-2004), Tony Kemp (2004-2005), Ivan Cleary (2006-2011) and Brian McClennan (2012).
MATTHEW ELLIOTT - BACKGROUND
An Eastern Suburbs junior, he rose to first-grade level as back rower with St George, playing 61 times for the Dragons from 1989-1992 before injury cut his playing career short. His last appearance was in the 1992 grand final loss against Brisbane before he moved straight into the first-grade coaching scene as Brian Smith’s assistant at St George.
When Smith moved to England to coach the Bradford Bulls in 1996, Elliott joined him as assistant again and then landed the top job following Smith’s return to Australia in 1997. The opportunity coincided with Bradford’s golden age, Elliott enjoying instant success in his debut season when the Bulls won a record 20 consecutive matches from the start of the campaign to win the Super League title comfortably (Elliott named coach of the year). Bradford also reached the Challenge Cup final only to lose 22-32 to St Helens.
He took the Bulls to the Super League grand final in 1999 when they lost 6-8 to St Helens while the next season Elliott savoured Challenge Cup success when Bradford beat Leeds in the final at Murrayfield in Edinburgh (in those days the Bulls were inspired by Kiwi stars Henry and Robbie Paul).
Elliott returned to Australia to take up a role as Mal Meninga’s assistant in 2001, taking over as head coach in 2002. Over the next five seasons he took the Raiders to the finals four times before joining Penrith from 2007-2011, reaching the finals once (when the Panthers finished second in the regular season in 2010).
After the 2011 season, Elliott coached the United States Tomahawks, helping them qualify for the Rugby League World Cup for the first time.
MATTHEW ELLIOTT – BIOGRAPHY
Born: December 08, 1964
Birthplace: Thursday Island, Queensland
1994: Development officer and President’s Cup coach, St George
1995: Assistant coach, St George
1995-1996: Assistant coach, Bradford
1997-2000: Head coach, Bradford
2001: Co-coach, Canberra
2002-2006: Head coach, Canberra
2007-2011: Head coach, Penrith
2012: Assistant coach, Sydney Roosters
Coaching Record: 1997-2011:
Games 361, Won 201, Drawn 7, Lost 153
Winning percentage: 55.67%
1997: Super League champions (Bradford)
1997: Challenge Cup runners-up (Bradford)
1999: Super League runners-up (Bradford)
1999: Super League minor premiers (Bradford)
2000: Challenge Cup winners (Bradford)
2002: NRL finals (Canberra)
2003: NRL finals (Canberra)
2004: NRL finals (Canberra)
2006: NRL finals (Canberra)
2010: NRL finals (Penrith)
1997: Super League Coach of the Year
1997: BBC National Coach of the Year
1999: Super League Coach of the Year
1999: BBC Northern Coach of the Year
Other Appointments: 2009-2012: Head coach, United States
First-Grade Club: St George (Winfield Cup), 1989-1992
Junior Clubs: West End Athletes (Townsville), Bondi United (Sydney), Eastern
First-Grade Debut: St George v Western Suburbs, Kogarah Oval, May 7, 1989 (Round 8)
First-Grade Games: 61 appearances
First-Grade Points: 32 (8 tries)
First-Grade Honours: Grand final, 1992 (St George v Brisbane)