Coaching ranks take shape ahead of season 2022

Tue, Aug 24, 2021, 5:03 AM
Declan Armstrong
by Declan Armstrong
The Rats coaching dream team - Holmes, Bayliss and Killingworth. Photo: Todd Marks
The Rats coaching dream team - Holmes, Bayliss and Killingworth. Photo: Todd Marks

With the Charter Hall Shute Shield season officially cancelled last Monday, focus has quickly shifted to next year and the coaches likely to lead each club forward in 2022.

Already we have seen major coaching announcements for Eastern Suburbs, Warringah and West Harbour across First Grade and Colts competitions. 

Here’s a look into the coaching announcements so far this off season. 


Legends return to guide next generation of Rats

Coaching news has drifted in from the beaches, with Rats Grand Final heroes Josh Holmes and Boyd Killingworth announced as Head Coaches of Warringah Colts for season 2022. 

Director of Colts, Todd Marks, announced Holmes and Killingworth will also be joined by Ben Bayliss, in a coaching team stacked with Australian and Super Rugby experience. 

“This is all part of our vision to create the best U20s program in NSW,” Marks stated. 

“Having the skill, connections and knowledge of these two local juniors at the helm in just the start. 

“The team already have some massive plans in place to give our Colts players a leg up in their aspiring rugby careers.” 

Warringah Colts were experiencing a difficult season prior to the competitions cancellation, accumulating just two wins in 2021. 

However, the experience of Holmes, Killingworth and Bayliss will no doubt elevate the skill and confidence within the Rats youngest crop of talent. 

With Warringah First Grade seemingly in the upper echelon of Shute Shield squads currently, expect both generations to be firing at Pittwater Rugby Park soon enough. 


Pauli joins Waratah ranks in 2022

The final piece of Darren Coleman’s coaching jigsaw was revealed last week with former Eastern Suburbs Head Coach, Pauli Taumoepeau, taking on the role of Tahs Forwards Coach next season. 

Taumoepeau joins the Tahs after a successful 12-year coaching stint at Eastern Suburbs, a journey which saw him rise from Head Coach of Colts to Director of Rugby, before eventually securing the First Grade coaching reins in 2018. 

The Tahs coaching role is just reward for Pauli’s consistent success at clubland. 

“The Waratahs were the first team I supported growing up and all my heroes wore the famous Sky-Blue,” he said. 

“There is a lot of talent in the squad, and I can’t wait to get to work alongside DC, Chris Whitaker and Jason Gilmore to help bring some confidence back to the side through a lot of hard work. 

“It’s an incredibly proud moment for myself and my family.” 

Taumoepeau’s exit leaves the Beasties searching for a new Head Coach to lead the club forward in 2022. 

After three consecutive Finals series (sure to be four had this season not been cut short) and a Semi-Final in 2020, whoever is selected for the top job will be expected to launch the Beasties on an upward trajectory next season. 

Should Easts and their incoming Head Coach take the next step in 2022, it would end a 14-year absence from Shute Shield Grand Finals and re-establish them as a force within clubland. 

It’s an undeniably attractive offering for any aspiring Head Coach. 

Applications close 29 August, see more information here.

Barakat back for another stint with Pirates

West Harbour have recently announced the return of Joe Barakat to guide the clubs First Grade side through to 2023. 

Barakat returns to the Pirates organisation after stints in Japan with Shining Arcs and Brave Lupus, Ulster in Europe’s Pro 12, as well as Super Rugby experience with the Waratahs, Force and Rebels. 

“The President and the board have a compelling strategy and clear pathway to success for the club,” Barakat said. 

“As a West Harbour old boy, I jumped at the opportunity to come home and play my part for the club.” 

Barakat’s appointment follows the resignation of former West Harbour Head Coach, Mark Gudmunson. 

While Gudmunson won’t enter season 2022 at the Pirates helm, he has confirmed he will continue to support Barakat in his wider coaching entourage. 

“It’s been an honour to lead this club through a really tough period and know that I am leaving the role with the club in a better place than when I took over,” Gudmunson stated. 

“I have been with the club since 1996 and am keen to see how I can play a role with West Harbour moving forward.” 

Despite a coaching restructure, the goal remains steadfast within the Pirates ranks – a first Shute Shield Finals appearance since 2013. 

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