Sharks confirm NRL coaching set up

The Sharks have officially unveiled their NRL coaching set up with highly regarded local coach Dave Howlett and former NRL and UK Super League five-eighth Daniel Holdsworth accepting new assignments for 2019.  

Howlett, who has enjoyed outstanding success with Sharks junior representative teams, most recently as the man in charge of the premiership winning Jersey Flegg side last year, joins Head Coach John Morris and Assistant Jim Dymock in the fulltime NRL coaching structure this year.

Adding to the full-time group will be Holdsworth in taking on a specialist skills role with the NRL team, while he also moves up to replace Howlett as Head Coach of the Jersey Flegg side and steps into the important position of Elite Player Pathways coach.  

Morris was pleased to announce the appointment of Howlett to the NRL role, confident he will complement the work being done with the NRL squad by himself and Dymock and is excited to have Holdsworth stepping up to tackle a range of important coaching responsibilities.

“Dave is an exceptional coach. His teams have won premierships and he’s had an influence on so many young players who have gone on to have successful NRL careers, both with our junior rep teams and in his role as Rugby League Coach at Endeavour High School,” Morris said.

“As for Daniel, he will certainly add something as an NRL skills coach and as our blue shirt trainer on game day, but most significant might be the Elite Pathways role. I started in that position when I retired and I believe he is the right fit to help with the development of our elite young talent which is crucial to the future success of the club.

“Both Dave and Daniel have come through our system, been involved in junior coaching roles and it shows we have a pathway for our coaches, as we do for our talented young players,” Morris added.

Involved with Endeavour High since 1998, Howlett has also been a fixture around the Sharks and the Club’s junior representative set-up for more than a decade.

In that time, Howlett consistently steered young Sharks teams into competition finals, with his coaching career highlighted by NSWRL and National Championship victories for the SG Ball Sharks in 2015 and a Jersey Flegg under-20’s premiership last year.

At Endeavour High, Howlett has overseen two national title-winning teams, while due to his association with both school and club has helped bring through a long list of current NRL stars.

Many of the players in the current Sharks fulltime squad have been coached by Howlett, including both Jayden and Blayke Brailey, Kyle Flanagan, Scott Sorensen and Bronson Xerri, as well as a host of youngsters set to run out in the main NRL trial against the Sea Eagles later tonight.

The likes of Curtis Scott, Alex Johnston, Jamayne Isaako, Blake Ferguson, Martin Taupau, Joey Leilua and Dean Whare are a handful of the NRL players to be influenced by Howlett’s coaching while students at Endeavour High.

In relation to Holdsworth, the former Sharks, Dragons, Bulldogs and UK SuperLeague player has stepped up from his current position as under-16s Matthews Cup Coach.

Holdsworth, who worked closely with Morris as his Holden Cup assistant in 2017, will spend at least two sessions a week with the NRL squad and be the blue shirt trainer on game day.  

In addition, Holdsworth takes over the reins of the Jersey Flegg Sharks and in overseeing the coaching of the Elite Pathways, mirroring the steps of new NRL coach Morris who was thrust into a similar role as his first coaching appointment upon retirement in 2014.

The new coaching team will be in action for the first time on game day in 2019 when the Sharks host Manly in trial matches later today.

The NRL trial is at 7.30pm, an ISP match gets underway at 5.05pm, with Jersey Flegg to get the day underway at 3.05pm.