With the departures of Kristian Woolf and David Tangata-Toa to NRL clubs, Townsville and Districts Mendi Blackhawks Operations Manager Adrian Thomson has been busy recruiting new coaching staff for 2019, and there are some very familiar names amongst the list.
Aaron Payne has already been named head coach of the Blackhawks Intrust Super Cup side, but a second former North Queensland Cowboys Life Member and legend is also joining the ranks.
The club announced yesterday that former Queensland Origin player Matthew Bowen was to join the club as the coach of the Under 18 Mal Meninga Cup side.
Bowen will be taking over from Cameron Miller, who is heading up the Blackhawks Academy.
The fan favourite – who played with the Blackhawks in 2016 – is coming off a busy season where he was playing and co-coaching Townsville & Districts Rugby League premiership winners, Central Tigers this year.
Thomson said he is looking forward to having “Mango” at the club.
“It’s monumental for us to have two North Queensland Cowboys Life Members and legends at our club,” Thomson said.
“These kids have grown up idolising Matty, now to have him as a coach, will be an unreal experience for them.
“We are proud to be a pathway for not only players, but coaches as well, and Matty showed what he could do with Centrals this year.”
Bowen said he couldn’t wait to start his new position at the club.
“There are some exciting young players coming through the system,” Bowen said.
“I’m looking forward to helping these players to reach their full potential.
“To get this position is something very special to me, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Ignatius Park teacher and Mendi Blackhawks assistant coach David Elliott has been named as the Under 20 Hastings Deering Colts coach.
Elliott will commence his new position at the end of the school year, and Thomson said it is a great reward for him after being an assistant coach for the past four years.
“Dave has been a fantastic assistant to Woolfy since day one,” Thomson said.
“His local knowledge of the area is something that we really wanted for this position and Dave already knows most of these young players.”
“This team are coming off a great year this year, and I’m sure Dave will continue the success.”
Queensland Maroons player such as Michael Morgan and Coen Hess (Hess: How my love of league began) have previously spoken about the influence Elliott has had on their playing careers.
Jason Tassell has also been named to head up the Strength and Conditioning unit, after James Moran signed with the New Zealand Warriors.