Wakefield Trinity: ‘Honoured’ Willie Poching determined to prove he is right man for lead role
IT would have been extremely harsh if Willie Poching had not been installed as Wakefield Trinity’s head coach.
Thankfully, the club reached the correct decision when it announced yesterday the 48-year-old would lead them into 2022 and beyond.
Given the popular New Zealander had overseen five wins in seven games since stepping up from assistant when Chris Chester was sacked, it was not rocket science his interim head coach role was converted.
However, the real work starts now as Poching looks to bring in additions required to ensure they are not fighting at the wrong end of the table again next term.
Trinity chief executive Michael Carter, who shot down speculation captain Jacob Miller might leave for Wigan Warriors, outlined how recruitment could prove tricky.
“It is going to be difficult with the TV deal being reduced,” he said, at a press conference to confirm Poching’s appointment.
“For a club like ours, that probably means the best part of £450,000 that won’t be coming across our front doorstep next year. And when you run a club like ours – close to the bone in terms of costs – stripping costs out is not a way we can go down.
“We have to find revenue streams. It is not going to be easy. Willie understands and is under no illusions. We’ll provide as much as we can to make that squad as good as it can be.”
Carter, who had 15 expressions of interest in the head coach job and met three candidates with chairman John Minards before plumping for Poching, added: “We will probably have to run a little bit skinnier than we have done over the last two or three years.
“That will include a few of our junior academy players coming into the first-team squad. They’ll have to sink or swim quickly should injuries bite next year.”
Poching, the former Trinity and Leeds Rhinos back-row, has certainly served his apprenticeship having worked as an assistant at Leeds, Warrington Wolves, Hull KR, Huddersfield Giants and Salford Red Devils.
But Carter added: “When he took charge just before the Warrington game, I tried to involve myself as much as I could around Willie, the players and staff – without saying anything.
“I stayed quiet and watched how the coaching structure had evolved in a very short space of time. We spoke to a lot of people, both other coaches and people we respect in the game, and asked them about Willie.
“I had conversations with our senior players as well to see how they saw the future. They all came back with positive reports on Willie the man and the coach.
“He deserves it, not only for what he has done over the last six to seven weeks, but for what he has done in his coaching career.”
Poching said: “I am extremely proud to sit in this seat and coach the team of the city I have lived in for a long time, one of the teams I played for and a team with such an illustrious history.
“There’s been a lot of success at this club but not for a little while. To lead that and try and get some of that back, is a challenge I am looking forward to. I am pleased and deeply honoured.”
Moreover, he finally gets to run his own team after years of working as a No 2. Poching, who will review his support staff, said: “There were times when I did question if this [being a head coach] was going to happen.
“I chased it, I kept chasing and I am here now. I have just got to prove to myself I can do it. It has been a long road but I learnt a lot along the way. Every team I worked with taught me some valuable lessons”