Newly announced Waratah draws confidence from recent Shute Shield supremacy

by Declan Armstrong

Newly appointed NSW Waratahs Head Coach, Darren Coleman, says his sustained Shute Shield success and humble no-quit attitude make him the right man to lift the Tahs from the Super Rugby abyss.

Coleman was officially announced for the top role on Wednesday, despite being only one season into his multi-year contract with the LA Giltinis.

The 48-year-old secured his Major League Rugby coaching gig following inspiring stints at both Warringah and Gordon, delivering long-awaited Shute Shield premierships to both. 

Given the Waratahs tumultuous 2021 season, Coleman’s proven ability to revive struggling franchises will be vital to NSW rugby. 

“I’ve had a bit of experience building something from nothing or rebuilding something that was broken,” he said. 

“I’ve got no doubt turning the Waratahs around is going to be a harder job than turning around Warringah – not that they were in a bad spot – or Gordon. 

“I definitely don’t go into this thinking it’s going to be a one-year fix, but you never know. 

“The power of people and people working together can do pretty special things.”

Coleman’s recent revival of Gordon, from cellar-dweller to Shute Shield supremacy, is of particular significance to the new Tahs coach. 

In just two seasons, Coleman guided the Club’s herculean rise, eventually delivering the Stag nation a 28-8 Grand Final win over Eastwood and ending their 22-year premiership drought. 

His triumphant Gordon tenure followed a two-year stint at Warringah, where the kid from South West Rocks secured the Rats their first Shute Shield premiership since foundation in 1971. 

Despite establishing what some may describe as a ‘magic formula’ at Shute Shield level, Coleman has continued to sharpen his coaching skill in preparation for his Waratahs ambition. 

“The Warringah premiership boosted my confidence and then my run with Gordon solidified it,” he said. 

“I went to Gordon thinking it was going to be a three-year ambition and I was able to pull it off in two.

“Those two Shute Shield premierships have allowed me to gain confidence in my coaching style.”

While Coleman admits his coaching standard has been heightened after working with the likes of Matt Giteau, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dave Dennis at the LA Giltinis, he remains resolute on what he describes as humble foundations. 

“When I did it with Gordon, everything was based around a no-quit mentality,” he said. 

“If you want to play for me, you have to be a bunch of fighters and that’s what I’ll instill first.

“We’re going to have hard days and I know that. I think I can galvanise the group to become mentally stronger.

“I’m hoping my Waratahs team will replicate my journey through rugby. I’m proof that if you stick at it and work really hard you can achieve any goal.” 

Waratah fans will wait eagerly to see if Coleman can complete another heroic revival in the Super Rugby arena. 

 
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