Newcastle rugby: Coach sets high standards for second stint in charge at Wanderers

BACK IN BLUE: Daniel Beckett gives instructions to the Newcastle team during his two years in charge of the representative program. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
BACK IN BLUE: Daniel Beckett gives instructions to the Newcastle team during his two years in charge of the representative program. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

DAN Beckett is looking forward to helping a wave of young talent fulfill their potential in his second stint at the helm of Wanderers.

Beckett replaces Darren Young, who has taken a step back due to work and family commitments.

The Two Blues are going through a rebuild and blooded a number of fresh faces in the top grade this season.

 “I like working with young guys because they want high standards,” Beckett said. “There is enormous talent here. It’s about providing the environment to realise that potential.”

Beckett, 42, coached the Two Blues for three season from 2009. They won the premiership in his maiden year and made the finals in the next two. He also spent two years in charge of the Newcastle senior side, winning the Country Championships in 2013 and runner-up in 2014. For the past two years he has coached Wanderers junior teams.

“I have been coaching the under-11s and that was the motivation for me,” he said. “I have been loving that and when asked if I’d be interested in coaching first grade again, I jumped at it. I’m all about learning and believe I’m a better coach now. My experiences outside of the game and being on the outside looking in reaffirmed some of my values about rugby. It has also taught me a lot of things about the modern game.”

After playing in the past three grand finals, Wanderers finished fifth this season.

“The club sets high standards and getting bundled out in the semis is probably not acceptable,” Beckett said.

“I like that. That is why I am part of the club because we set high standards. I don’t think there is one area we need to strengthen. It’s about getting guys to play for each other and then great things can happen. It’s about caring for each other. When there is an element of care people respond. I don’t mind cracking the whip, but I’m also looking forward to getting to know these guys and make sure our environment is a caring one.”

Captain Luke Simmons and Christensen brothers, Ben and Marcus, are the only players in the first-grade squad who Beckett has coached previously.

“Luke Simmons was on the phone straight away, saying he was still keen,” Beckett said. “There is certainly some real talent in the under-18s and 19s. I’m looking forward to meeting the guys I don’t know that well and getting to know them. I need to identify players who are going to influence the group and find out where we are at. We certainly won’t take any short cuts. We won’t necessarily have to work longer, we have to work smarter.”

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