Former Panthers halfback Brett Atkinson has been appointed head coach of the St Marys Saints Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership team for the 2021 season.
The 43-year-old joined the Saints this season and was serving as the assistant coach of the St Marys Women’s Premiership team, working alongside head coach Michael Weldon.
However, the COVID-19 shutdown resulted in St Marys pulling out of this year’s competition after playing just one game.
St Marys Rugby League Club Football Manager, Adam Przbyla, said he was excited to have Atkinson step up into the head coaching role.
“Brett has built a great rapport with the team through his role as assistant coach,” he said.
“A major focus for the club has been on creating pathway opportunities for future players and it is fantastic that we can offer this to our coaching staff too.”
Atkinson played 14 NRL games with the Panthers between 1999 and 2002 and has been a long-standing member of the rugby league community ever since.
Atkinson began coaching with the Panthers in 2007 working with a number of different representative teams, nurturing the very best talent throughout the District.
Last season he coached the Windsor Wolves in the C Grade Division 1 competition before linking up with the Saints.
Atkinson, who is also a teacher by day, said he was beyond excited about his new challenge at the St Marys club.
“To be given the opportunity to be the head coach of this great club and to continue the outstanding platform Michael “Bird” Weldon has established is a huge honour and it is a task that I am willing to give my all to,” he said.
43-year-old Atkinson will be hoping his NRL experience, which includes working under both Royce Simmons and John Lang, will bode well for his work with St Marys next season.
The Harvey Norman’s Women’s Premiership is the top tier women’s rugby league competition in New South Wales.
This year’s competition features just seven teams: Central Coast, Cronulla, Canterbury-Bankstown, South Sydney, Wests Tigers, North Sydney and Wentworthville.
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.