THE Sea Swift Northern Pride has received a major boost ahead of the 2014 Intrust Super Cup finals with head coach Jason Demetriou signing a new two-year deal at the club.
Demetriou, 38, who has led the Pride to two consecutive minor premierships in just two years, has now penned a deal until the end of the 2016 Intrust Super Cup season.
The former UK Super League star has a coaching record of 37 wins from 48 Intrust Super Cup games with the Pride – a remarkable winning percentage of 77 per cent.
He is also the current Queensland Residents coach, having led them to victory over NSW Residents in the State of Origin III curtain-raiser in July, and also the reigning QRL Coach of the Year.
In a further boost to the club ahead of their home Major Semi-Final clash next Saturday (September 13), the Pride has also announced Far North Insurance Brokers (soon to rebrand as Rivers Insurance Brokers) has signed on as its finals partner.
Demetriou said he was delighted to sign on with the Pride for another two years, despite ongoing rumours linking him with a coaching opportunity in the NRL.
“From the day I joined two years ago, the club have been nothing but supportive to me in everything I have been trying to achieve,” Demetriou said.
“From the players and coaching staff, to the Board and volunteers, it has been a collective effort to achieve the success we have.
“It’s no secret that I’m keen to take my coaching career further in the NRL one day, and the Pride have always been supportive of myself in that respect.
“They create pathways for not only their players, as we’ve seen recently with Shaun Nona, Hezron Murgha and Blake Leary landing NRL deals, but also their coaches.
“But for now, I’m absolutely 100 per cent committed to the Pride, and especially this year’s finals series, where we hope to learn from last year’s disappointment.”
Pride Chief Executive Officer Brock Schaefer said the Club were thrilled to have secured Demetriou on a new deal.
“We have absolutely no doubt that JD (Demetriou) is the best in the business, and to have him recommit is absolutely fantastic, especially as we enter such an important time of the year on-field,” Schaefer said.
“This news will provide a major boost to the players, coaching staff and supporters, as we bid to reach our first Intrust Super Cup grand final since 2010.
“I have no doubt that JD is destined for bigger things in the game, and he knows we’ll support him if an NRL opportunity presented itself.
“But for now we’re delighted to have secured our immediate coaching future, and can now concentrate on what will no doubt be a thrilling finals series.”
Schaefer said the commitment of Rivers Insurance Brokers to its 2014 finals bid was another superb example of the support Cairns businesses provide for the Pride.
“Rivers are a proud business with operations across Queensland that has chosen to support our club as it aims for state glory, and possible national success in the NRL Championship final,” Schaefer said.
“Like our naming rights sponsor Sea Swift, it is fantastic to see outstanding local businesses supporting local sporting teams.
“Rivers provide outstanding service in everything they do, and to have such a supporter on board is a perfect fit for what we’re trying to achieve at the Pride.”
Pride is celebrating its second straight minor premiership by offering FREE tickets as a gift to its 2014 Season Members.
Ticketed Season Members will have their tickets renewed for the semi-final as a gift from the Club, while General Admission Season Members will also get free general admission to the game.
By winning another minor premiership, the Pride enjoy a rest weekend this weekend, before doing battle with either Easts Tigers or Wynnum-Manly Seagulls at The Jungle on September 13 (5.30pm KO).
The winner of that game will automatically book their place in the Intrust Super Cup Grand Final at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday, September 28.
Free Major Semi-Final tickets for all 2014 Pride Members are now ready for collection at the Club’s Barlow Park office. Please call the Pride office on (07) 4046 0500 if you have any questions.
All other tickets for the game can now be purchased from Tickets Cairns at www.ticketscairns.com.au