I hate to bore you with these beautiful Aotearoa Warriors staff recruitment moves, but Aotearoa Warriors have made yet another slick play in luring Greg Boulous across the ditch to take up a role as head coach of the Future Warriors Programme. Oh yeah, apparently the Future Warriors Proggramme is a thing as well and as I haven't heard too much about FWP, this again reinforces the dramatic change that has swept through Mt Smart recently.
This Boulous lad has been a junior coach in Sydney at a few clubs, however the funkiest aspect of Boulous' career is his standing at Westfield Sports High School. One of the best rugby league school in Australia, perhaps one of the best sports schools in general throughout Australia, Westfield Sports was featured in a little series where you can get a taste of what Boulous will offer the Warriors:
Given what we know about Boulous and Westfield Sports, he's clearly a sound rugby league mind. The key thing here though is Boulous' experience working in an academy type of environment, with prospects who have either come from around the corner, or from far and wide. That specific experience is what makes Boulous such an exciting recruitment because he will now lead the junior levels of the Warriors, as head coach and while I don't have enough information to say Boulous is among the best in his role, my gut feel tells me that he is.
Hence, the Warriors recruited Boulous. We only have to look at the calibre of individuals who the Warriors have recruited to peep the trend here as Alex Corvo, Todd Payten and Nathan Cayless are all talented or among the best in their specific roles. Corvo came in early on, so we know all about him. Payten is a highly touted assistant coach earning his stripes, Cayless has proven experience with the level below NRL and now someone with immense experience at the junior levels joins Payten and Cayless in linking up wiht the Warriors ahead of the 2019 season.
Another low key niche aspect of Boulous' experience is that Westfield Sports relies heavily on polynesian (even some Maori) talent. This is low key because no one will mention it, but massive because Boulous is best-equipped to deal with the intricacies of working in a multi-cultural environment. Ultimately, Boulous has vast experience working with teenager and preparing them for NRL footy/life as well as doing that in a multi-cultural environment.
Then, on top of all that, Westfield Sports don't fuck around. They compete at a high level and Boulous is simply coming from a winning culture, which isn't necessarily about results and also includes the attitude/vibe of a system. It's one thing to bring in a guy like Corvo, who breeds a winning culture at the top level and that definitely flows throughout the club. To have someone bring in that winning experience to the junior level, that's just as beautiful.
We are already seeing how these staff recruitment moves and great changes at Mt Smart are impacting the Warriors junior farm. First and foremost is that these staff members are the best at what they do and want - they have chosen - to join the Warriors on this journey. Then in the past month or so we have seen young/fringe NRL Aussies Lachlan Burr, Adam Keighran and Jackson Frei move to Mt Smart and be part of this new Warriors vibe.
Kiwis Adam Pompey and Patrick Herbert have been lured back to Aotearoa, for the summer at least. Selestino Ravutaumada saw how his Rotorua Boys High School homies Hayze Perham and Tom Ale are working through the Warriors system and wanted to join them. Let alone all the others at NRL and reserve grade level who have opted to join the Warriors in the past 12-18 months.
All of this is part of giving the Warriors a firm structure from the FWP to NRL. Structure is very different from pathway and especially at the Warriors because we've seen the pathway to NRL be successful in the sense that players follow that pathway to NRL footy, but then those players are unable to consistently perform. Now, the structure is all about ensuring that at every level, players get the best coaching for that specific level.
In announcing Boulous' arrival and the FWP, the Warrior also highlighted some next steps; regional coaches and scouting staff, along with 'physical performance' staff. I'm not sure if they'll be physical performance staff who are based in Auckland or regional staff members, but the idea of spreading their coaching tentacles throughout Aotearoa is an obvious move to go nek level.
Take a moment now, to appreciate the staff recruitment style and appointments from the Warriors. I've never seen such common sense, nor a ruthless desire to establish a culture of excellence at the Warriors in my lifetime. Maybe next season we'll see the results throughout the club, or maybe in the coming years it'll become more evident. Either way, note down this moment as a reference point as I feel like all aspects of New Zealand Warriors is moving in a fabulous direction.
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Peace and love 27.