Nine clubs will go into this season's Hostplus Cup with a new coach at the helm, in one of the biggest turnovers in recent years.
With the addition of the Western Clydesdales - and kick-off to season 2023 right around the corner - the Queensland Rugby League is profiling our 10 new coaches, whether they're coming from a different club or are completely new to the Cup arena.
In this edition we talk to Souths Logan Magpies coach Karmichael Hunt about the club's goals for the season ahead and the squad he has assembled for this year's campaign.
A triple threat, Hunt played rugby league, rugby union and AFL across his playing career. During his time in the NRL, the 36-year-old played for the Brisbane Broncos, Queensland Maroons and Australian Kangaroos.
Hunt retired from all codes in 2021 and moved into coaching with the Souths Logan Magpies' Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup team. He found immediate success, winning the 2022 premiership. Hunt replaces Steve Bretherton, who is now CEO of the Magpies, as Hostplus Cup coach.
Q&A with Karmichael Hunt
How does it feel to be promoted to coach of the Hostplus Cup team?
Last year was my first crack at the profession and it was exciting. I spent a good portion of my life playing senior football and being in senior footy so stepping into junior footy was probably the least natural (role) to be honest. To be back around senior players, I relish that opportunity and I'm excited for the season ahead.
What is your coaching philosophy?
It’s very growth orientated. It's about making sure we’re growing them as athletes, as a team, and as individuals. Making sure they’re comfortable and content and becoming better. That sums it up from my very young coaching career.
Who would you say is your mentor or strongest influence in coaching?
They’ve all been influences in a way. Coaches that have done a really good job or those that missed the mark, you learn from the good and the bad experiences. When it comes to the biggest coaches that left a mark on my psyche and what type of coach I want to be moving forward, the first would be Wayne Bennett. I was very privileged to have him as a head coach as a 17-year-old. The second one would be my father, who coached in my junior footy days. He has the same ideas around the individual and bringing out the best of the individual … they’re very similar in nature and want to get the best out of their players.
What are your first impressions of your squad?
It’s been great. We’ve had a decent player turnover. We’ve retained some of the quality players we’ve had from the last few years and also recruited fresh energy and excitement into our roster as well. I’m really happy with the mix we have. It’s a balanced squad.
What are your goals for season 2023?
As a team, we came up with our own goals to play finals footy and finish top four. Every team wants to win the comp. Our first stepping stones to do that is to make the top four and play finals footy.
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Who within your squad will make their mark in 2023?
There’s a few blokes. Rory Ferguson, who has been here for the last couple of years, has grown his game and I’m expecting him to have a big couple of years. We have Radean Robinson who came down to us from the Capras and Jack Campagnolo back in the Cup system from the Rabbitohs. Tristan Sailor is another name that will move forward after coming back to footy last year. We also have a middle forward coming from New Zealand Rugby who played for the Hurricanes - Alex Fidow - transitioning into rugby league. There’s plenty more boys we’re excited about.