Rockcote Canterbury Bulls Appointments For 2017
Canterbury Rugby League is pleased to announce the following Rockcote Canterbury Bulls appointments for 2017:
Coach: Andrew Auimatagi
Assistant Coach: Jed Lawrie
Team Manager: Mel Mather
Trainer: Lee Paru
The quartet have all been retained in their roles following the Bulls’ impressive campaign in the 2016 NZRL National Premiership.
“I’m excited about working with the group of staff we assembled last year again,” Rockcote Canterbury Bulls coach Andrew Auimatagi says.
“They’re a really awesome team, and we worked well together last season so I’m looking forward to the campaign ahead.”
Auimatagi’s coaching partnership with Jed Lawrie goes back to 2014, when Lawrie was Auimatagi’s assistant with the Canterbury Development team and the South Island Scorpions, before linking up again in a new-look Bulls set-up last year.
They squared off against each other in last year’s CRL grand final, with Auimatagi’s Linwood Keas outlasting Lawrie’s Hornby Panthers 29-10 at Rugby League Park. But Auimatagi heaped praise on his club rival.
“Jed’s done a great job with the guys out at Hornby, he’s been involved for a few years now,” he says.
“It was his first year as a head coach last year, but he also served some time under Brent Stuart so he’s had access to some great league minds over there at Hornby, including his brother (Corey Lawrie), and he’s starting to do some great things with the juniors out there as well.”
Mel Mather is one of the hardest-working people in the Canterbury Rugby League community. She is currently part of the CRL junior working group and has helped out with numerous rep teams, as well as being the current Game Development and Operations Manager for Bowls Canterbury.
Auimatagi says Mather has been a vital cog in keeping the Rockcote Canterbury Bulls running smoothly in her role as team manager.
“Mel’s a person that doesn’t leave any box unticked, she’s a very well-planned and organised person.
“She was very impressive in her first year as manager and it’s great to have her back again.
“Mel and her partner, Cam, have been involved with the Scorpions juniors as well, and it’s great to have her enthusiasm.”
The Rockcote Canterbury Bulls brains trust is completed by Lee Paru, who is making a real name for himself in the Sports Strength and Conditioning field.
“Lee’s a really knowledgeable guy,” Auimatagi reveals.
“It was my first year working with him last year, he came highly recommended by Jed, and I was blown away by his professionalism and his ability to get the best out of the guys.
“He’s travelled the world and he’s always continuing to learn and develop. He’s a great asset to our team.”
Auimatagi himself has made giant strides in New Zealand’s rugby league coaching ranks, backing up the Keas’ premiership triumph with a strong campaign in charge of the Bulls to take out the NZRL Domestic Coach of the Year award last month.
“It was a pretty awesome surprise,” he says.
“I was taken aback when it was announced, and I just loved the weekend, being around some important people in terms of footy in New Zealand.
“It was great to talk to a few of those guys up there, and I just really enjoyed the experience.
“I’m really stoked with where I am at the moment. I’ve been fortunate to work with some great people and also have some great players in my teams, so I’m just looking forward to the season ahead now.”
With the Rockcote Canterbury Bulls’ season finishing in late-September, Auimatagi has barely had a chance to catch his breath after a hectic 2016 at club and representative level – but he is fizzing to see his charges on the field again, starting this weekend with the Crosbie Nines.
“I managed to get a good break with my family. The Keas started training again in December, and picked up again in January.
“We’re really pleased with how the guys are tracking so far. There’s some new guys and some old faces who are still putting in, so I’m really keen to see how they go tomorrow at the Crosbie Nines and I’m really excited about the season ahead with them.
Auimatagi will also have his Bulls hat on this Saturday, casting an eye over his representative incumbents and some potential new stars.
“It’s a great opportunity to see where some of our (Bulls) guys from last year are at, but also identify some new ones.
“The Crosbie Nines always tends to unveil some possible new recruits across from rugby (union) as well, so it’s going to be a great day.”
WILL EVANS – CANTERBURY RUGBY LEAGUE