Josh Hannay, the Sharks interim NRL head coach in 2021 and recently confirmed as a member of Craig Fitzgibbon’s coaching set up in 2022, has been announced as an assistant coach to Billy Slater for the Queensland Origin team next year.
Hannay, who took over the reins at the Sharks in round six of the recently completed NRL season and guided the team within a whisker of qualifying for the Finals series, will be involved with the Queensland team for what will be Slater’s first year at the helm.
Boasting a Queensland Origin pedigree, with Hannay having experience in playing two matches for the state between 2003 and 2006, while also supporting Kevin Walters as an assistant coach during the 2018 Origin series, Slater believes the north Queensland native is a great fit for the Maroons.
“I think he’s got a big future in the coaching game and it’s only a matter of time before he’s leading his own club,” Slater said.
“He’s had a lot of experience after being handed the reins in some tough circumstances (in the NRL) and I think he’s handled himself really well.
“Every dealing that I’ve had with him, whether it be at Origin level or throughout the media, has been positive and I think he’s got a really intelligent football mind that will add a lot of value to the playing group which is what we’re looking for.”
Hannay represented both the Cowboys and the Sharks during his playing days before launching a coaching career with his hometown team, the Moranbah Miners.
He would then go on to coach the Souths Logan Magpies in the Queensland Cup, while then entering the QRL system in coaching the Maroons Under 18s and 20s.
“I’m honoured to be involved in a new coaching group with Billy and the other people he’s going to have on board,” Hannay said.
“To be part of that is going to be exciting, but also (we’re) acutely aware of the challenge ahead in getting the shield back against a New South Wales team that looks probably as strong as it has been in a long time.”
The appointment of Hannay as a Maroons Origin assistant is an endorsement of his qualities as a coach and can only be viewed as a positive for the Sharks, with lessons learned at the highest level of the game set to be transferred back to the club level.
In addition to Hannay, Fitzgibbon will also have 2016 Sharks assistant coach Steve Price, who returns from a successful coaching stint in the UK, and former NRL player Daniel Holdsworth as members of his coaching staff in 2022.