Daniel Finn has a coaching resume that boasts more than a decade of experience, but this season he will take on a new challenge.
Finn has joined Brady Cheshire in stepping up to assist head coach Kurt Hancock in steering Bathurst St Pat’s Group 10 premier league outfit.
The move comes after Finn previously guided the first division and under-18 Saints, as well as a number of junior teams.
“I started coaching at under 8s and went right through to under 18s, then I coached [first division] last year,” Finn said.
“I’ve helped Kurt with his representative football, he was coaching the Western Rams under-21 side last season. He invited me along and I gave him a hand with that.
“So I got some experience there, but I didn’t have full intentions to coach premier league.”
I started coaching at under 8s and went right through to under 18s, then I coached [first division] last year.
Having been promoted to the premier league staff to further his coaching experience, the prospect is one which excites Finn.
He will get to work with a talented group of players as well as learning from Hancock and Cheshire.
“Everyone knows Kurt has got experience from the top of the rugby league world and Brady’s been down in the Sydney environment rugby league-wise, so they have both been there and seen it,” he said.
“I come from the other direction, I come from a Group 11 [Forbes] background, so I am happy to bring all those ideas and methods out to this area.
“I will just input as much as I can this season and hopefully it will make a difference.”
Hancock has spoken of his desire to bring a more professional approach to the Saints in 2017, a notion Finn feels is important.
He has seen how rugby league has developed over the years and feels coaches and players need to continue that evolution.
“Footy has changed a lot, that’s for sure, it’s not as rough and ready as it used to be. It’s still a contact sport, but it’s been cleaned up a lot and it’s a lot more professional,” he said.
“People get paid a lot more than they did eight-10 years ago and the performance expectations are greater as well. It goes hand-in-hand.
“I think that professionalism is a necessity, bush footy just can’t stay bush footy forever, they need that professionalism brought into it.
“The players, they do embrace it, and hopefully they take what we do on board and run with it.”
Though Hancock and the Saints playing group are yet to set out their goals for 2017, winning a premier league crown is naturally something the Bathurst club will strive for.
Last season the blue and whites finished the regular season in second, but lost back-to-back finals to Bathurst Panthers (54-26) and Mudgee (20-4) to end their campaign.
With a number of clubs having strengthened their rosters already during the pre-season period, the Saints will certainly be tested when play gets underway.
“Some of the other clubs have recruited very well, we are looking at further developing our junior ranks, having that local content I guess you could call it,” Finn said.
“It’s going to be some of the strongest teams taking the field in recent memory I reckon this year.”
The Group 10 season is slated to kick off on April 9.