Senior Convenor Tony Taylor on behalf of the Richmond club would like to acknowledge our volunteers saying, “thanks to our coaching and management team made up of Fa Taua, Fili Taua, and Vae Kalolo for their dedication and commitment the last few seasons. You have always given your best and we thank you.”
Newly appointed Premier 1st coach John Mana insists he will bring his own style to the job and wants former Richmond Premier 1st and Tokes (Tokelaun) team-mate Soul Amosa to work beside him as assistant coach.
John, who has a long history with Richmond as a junior through to seniors, has been announced as the 2022 Richmond Premier 1st head coach after applying and interviewing at the recent Board select panel interviews held last Friday.
The 37-year-old John Mana has head coaching experience having been 2017-2019 Ponsonby Ponies men’s Premier Head coach, taking them to the semi-finals of the Auckland Rugby League Sharman Cup grade in 2018 & 2019, and 2018-2021 Ponsonby Ponies women’s team assistant coach/trainer, winning the women’s Pennant competition before competing in the 2021 championship competition over the last two seasons.
John has played under some of the game’s best Auckland coaches, including recently announced Premier head coach Ricky Henry, John Teina and Bernie Perenara. He is also renowned for his work ethic, communication skills, attention to detail, passion, and tactical nous, with Premier 1st coach Vae Kalolo revealing that he regularly calls on John’s football knowledge where he came to the support of the team during the 2021 season.
“It is really important for me to be me but also execute what Ricky needs of me and our boys,” Mana said on Sunday. “I can’t go in there and pretend to be an NRL coach. It is important that I bring my strengths and deal with the inexperience I have by making sure that I get propped up by the people around me.”
Besides Ricky Henry, John Teina and Bernie Perenara have been mentioned as possible mentors, while a team manager is yet to be confirmed and additional staff are expected to help John and Soul launch a new era for our wider Premier squad.
“Over the next few months, we will put in place a team around this footy side. There are a number of willing experienced Richmond volunteers who love to be in and around this squad, whether they are mentors, management or support staff.
“Hopefully we can get a great squad together and have a great support staff to put around them.”
Senior Convenor Tony backed John and Soul to ensure a strong competitive Premier 1st squad that would support our Premier team next season and in the future.
“It is exciting because they both bring a lot of energy to everything they do and together they know the game very well so tactically the Premier 1st coaching team will have some great ideas.
“I think the biggest challenge will be getting that mentorship right. John will have the tactics right and with Soul they will be able to drive home the message of how privileged you are to play for Richmond, so it is just managing people.
“You pick your best 17 for the Premier team but there is a lot more to it than that and I think John has got one eye on the now, but he has also got an eye on creating more depth within the Premier squad.”
John said that we have lacked some depth at times but “our best at their best is good”.
“I am not teaching a group of doctors to do brain surgery, I am teaching league players to play rugby league and trying to coach them,” he said.
“My job will be getting the players developed, getting the players not named in the Premier team 17 to perform at their best, keeping all players honest, supporting a good club culture and competitive environment, and setting people around these players to best be prepared to play at their optimum throughout the season.
“I have been very passionate about the Richmond club for a long time, and I know the impact my position has on the loyal Richmond club members and supporters near and far. I am passionate about developing our next line of Richmond talent and I feel like I can contribute.”
Senior Convenor Tony said, “Soul’s commitment and knowledge from his involvement with the Tokes (Tokelau) Premier 2nd team showed he would ensure John had every chance of support and success.”
“I know they will do well, and I don’t think Richmond’s Premier 1st squad could be in better hands,” Tony said.
“We all want results, and we all want success but one thing I like about this announcement is that John is always prepared to put the hard work in to build that success. I am sure he will do the same for Richmond as he always has.”
Tony said he was excited about the future of the Richmond club with Ricky and John at the helm.
"It was in our best interests to secure a Premier 1st coach who could provide leadership to a young playing group, John was the standout option," Tony said.
"We’re delighted to secure the services of such passionate Richmond coaches, and we’re now very much looking forward to planning for the future and providing as much support.
"The all-round education our Richmond coaches can provide to our playing group is exciting, and their technical thinking offers another element as well."
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