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Coaches confirmed for 2024 pathways teams

Benji Marshall has given Wests Tigers new group of pathways mentors a glimpse of his coaching blueprint, ahead the 2024 NRL pre-season.

Marshall, who will be joined by assistant coaches Robbie Farah, Chris Heighington and John Morris next season, led a pathways induction session at the Zurich Centre on Tuesday night for the coaches of all Wests Tigers junior and senior representative teams for 2024.

The presentation included strategy guidelines on the NRL team’s attack and defence, with these methods to then filter through the club’s development teams.

Marshall says connecting with the club’s junior coaches is about building consistency through the grades.

“When a young player comes through our rep teams and eventually makes it to the NRL, it’s important they know what we are about,” he said.

Having already been coached using similar guidelines will make the transition to first grade more effective.

NRL Head Coach Benji Marshall

Matthew Betsey, General Manager Women’s and Pathways, says coach education is a key component of the club’s development plans.

“As a development club, our mission is to develop and retain the very best talent in our catchment areas, and that doesn’t just apply to players," said Betsey.

Junior coaches, whether they be representative coaches or coaches at junior rugby league clubs, play a hugely significant role in player development.

Matthew Betsey

“It’s vitally important that we not only have programs in place to educate and develop players, but for our coaches as well."

Betsey says the benefits of the club’s trickle-down coaching methodology have already been seen.

“So many of our NRL squad for next season have come through our pathways programs, and many of these players will have been coached at some stage by one of our junior rep coaches,” he said.

“It’s important that when they transition to the NRL, they are familiar with the methods and style that is being used at NRL and NRLW level.

“Our pathways coaches are so important to what we are building as a club long term.”

2024 Pathways Coaches:

Pathways Team Head Coach
Wests Magpies NSW Cup Aaron Payne 
Wests Tigers Jersey Flegg Cup Leon Latulipe
Balmain Harold Matthews Cup Tony Bazouni
Balmain SG Ball Cup  Chris Yates
Wests Harold Matthews Cup  Stephen Isdale
Wests SG Ball Cup  Joey Saukuru
Macarthur Wests Tigers Andrew Johns Cup Harrison Fox
Macarthur Wests Tigers Laurie Daley Cup Mitchell Tyler
Wests Tigers Lisa Fiaola Cup  Scott Clark
Wests Tigers Tarsha Gale Cup  Adel Hage 

About the coaches:

Wests Magpies NSW Cup - Aaron Payne

Payne joins the club as head coach of Wests Magpies NSW Cup team. The former Cowboys hooker has a wealth of coaching experience which he gained following a stellar career as a player.  Payne was North Queensland Cowboys academy coach, and NYC head coach before spending four seasons as head coach of the Townsville Blackhawks in the Queensland Cup.

Wests Tigers Jersey Flegg Cup (U19s) - Leon Latulipe

Leon joins the club from Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles where he was Jersey Flegg Cup head coach last season and brings plenty of experience to the role. He was also an assistant coach of South Sydney’s premiership-winning Jersey Flegg Cup team in 2019.

Balmain Harold Matthews Cup (Under 17s) - Tony Bazouni

Tony will make his debut as a head coach after working with the club in various assistant and trainer roles, with both Balmain and Wests Tigers (Jersey Flegg) over the past nine years. 

Balmain SG Ball Cup (U19s) - Chris Yates

Chris rejoins Wests Tigers and brings with him more than 12 years of coaching experience.  He guided Wentworthville Magpies to a premiership in the Ron Massey Cup in 2017, more recently coaching Group 6 side Narellan Jets and Windsor Wolves.

Wests Harold Matthews Cup (U17s) - Stephen Isdale

Stephen is taking the next step in his coaching career, moving from assistant to head coach of Wests Harold Matthews team.

Wests SG Ball Cup (U19s) - Joey Saukuru

Joey will continue as head coach of Wests SG Ball Cup team after building strong relationships with his players in the same role over the past few years. 

Macarthur Wests Tigers Andrew Johns Cup (U16s) - Harrison Fox

Harrison is transitioning from an assistant coach of Wests Harold Matthews side to head coach of Macarthur Wests Tigers Andrew Johns Cup team.

Macarthur Wests Tigers – Laurie Dailey Cup (U18s) – Mitchell Tyler

Mitchell is also transitioning into a head coach role, after much hard work as an assistant coach with Wests SG Ball team.

Lisa Fiaola Cup (Women’s U17s) - Scott Clark

Scott joins Wests Tigers after coaching the Toongabbie Tigers U18 girl’s side last season. He has been involved in Parramatta Eels’ pathways programs for many years and also has experience with Samoa’s national junior programs.

Tarsha Gale Cup (Women’s U19s) - Adel Hage

Adel has been in Wests Tigers program since 2019 and coached the club’s Harvey Norman Women’s team to premiership glory in 2022.  Adel was an asset to the club in its inaugural NRLW season and will play a key role in developing future NRLW players in years to come.

Wests Tigers NRL squad will return for 2024 pre-season training on Monday 6th November.

Acknowledgement of Country

Wests Tigers respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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