Matt Briggs To Co-Coach West Harbour in 2013
by Brendan Bradford –
West Harbour have signed former Penrith Emus mentor Matt Briggs as first grade co-coach for 2013. Briggs, who was the Shute Shield coach of the year in 2010 at Penrith, will team up with Daniel Manu in what Club Head-Coach John Lomax says is one of the most talented and experienced combinations in the competition.
“I’m getting two guys with strengths in different areas who also have the same game strategies,” said Lomax.
“They’re going to be working together and making decisions together, so I’m just strengthening my coaching ranks. The big attributes Matt Briggs brings are his very strong communication skills, organisation and the big picture stuff and I say it could be the making of our club.”
After a three-year tenure at the foot of the mountains, Briggs is excited by the playing potential at West Harbour and is looking forward to coaching with his old Eastwood buddy and the challenge of turning the Pirates into genuine premiership contenders.
“We both believe in an expansive and athletic type of game,” said Briggs.
“You can’t be one-dimensional so you’ve got to have players who can tackle, ruck and pilfer whether they’re one or 15 and there’s so much potential at West Harbour but also so much infrastructure and resources and they’re prepared and willing to take on good advice.”
Briggs says the two had talked casually about the idea of co-coaching throughout the year but only seriously discussed their options once the season ended.
“There’s not too many co-coaches these days, but to satisfy our interests and get the maximum out of each other and to push each other, we agreed it could work and pencilled in some job descriptions and worked out a lot about individual roles and game strategies,” said Briggs.
“We’re very excited about the prospect.”
A dedicated and astute coach who favours attacking flair and skill over rigid devotion to structure, Briggs is immensely proud of his achievements with the Emus but says with a young family and a business to run, the three hour round trip between home and Penrith was becoming untenable.
“While we didn’t climb the ladder the way I would’ve hoped, you can’t help but become attached and I do leave with a certain amount of sadness but with an understanding that I’ve done everything I could and I don’t think anyone could deny that we’ve improved over the last few years,” he says.
“We’re no longer the easy beats and we’ve taken a few big scalps over the past few years but I don’t think you should be in the game if you don’t want more out of yourself.”
Daniel Manu, who guided the Pirates to the finals in his first year as head coach this season, also prefers an expansive approach to the game and is excited to have Briggs coming aboard.
“Matt’s going to bring a lot of experience and he will make our coaching team very strong,” he said.
“I’m happy with how the team improved in the second part of this season so I’m just trying to build the discipline. We have depth now especially as 2s had an outstanding finish, so we’ll be aiming higher.”