New Penrith Emus co-coach Chip Carroll may not know the full names of his players just yet but he promises he will know them all by mid-season.
The New Zealander along with former Queensland Reds Super Rugby player Peter Niumata will share the responsibilities as head coaches of Penrith’s Shute Shield team in 2018.
Billed as the toughest job in Australian rugby, the Emus coaching gig is a revolving door with Carroll and Niumata the latest in a long line in recent years.
Carroll said his long friendship with Niumata should hopefully give them the edge in the coaching box .
“We’ve known each other for years, we were friends first and now we are working together,” he said.
“We can bring plenty of experience, we’ve both been around the game a long time. Pete’s played Super Rugby and I’ve coached in North America and New Zealand. We’ll share the responsibilities.
“We may not be the easiest people to work with but for the most part the boys have been receptive. We all have to grow together.”
Carroll first came to Penrith as coach of the club’s second grade team in 2005. He later moved on to other coaching roles both in Australia and overseas before landing back at Nepean Rugby Park earlier this year.
“Any coaching job is a privilege, that’s the way I treat it and I’m happy to do any coaching job,” he said.
“I’ve coached from U6s to international rugby. Any opportunity I’m given I appreciate.”
Despite an off-season of uncertainty, the Emus will kick off their 2018 Shute Shield campaign this Saturday afternoon against Southern Districts. And while the team hasn’t chalked up a win in years, Carroll is hopeful they can leave the bad luck (and results) in the past.
“Pete’s installed a mantra that we build our own legacy this year and forget about the past. I think too often in the past Penrith have felt victimised. It’s time to get past that and move on,” Carroll said.
“I think if we can win one game initially and build on that, it will do wonders for this whole group.”
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.