By Dave Parkinson.
New Ireland boss Ged Corcoran is a man on a mission, five months out from the World Cup.
The proud Irish man, an eleven cap veteran who previously served as assistant coach, took the reigns five weeks ago and is now setting wheels in motion for the next stage of his country’s development. He has called on players to put their hands up to pull on the green and white, to match his own commitment to the cause.
“I’m hugely proud to get to lead my country. I was immensely proud as a player, but now I get to do it as a Head Coach, it’s really exciting.
“Coming in on such short notice to the World Cup is an added incentive, but I’ve put a proposal together and there is a journey starting to happen here going forward for Ireland Rugby League.” He said.
“The World Cup is the starting block and I’m building towards the next one in 2025.”
“You need consistency, you need continuity, not just from the playing personnel but also from the backroom staff, to the board. It gives the players a lift and gives them the reassurance and stability they need, to believe in what we are doing on and off the field.”
That belief comes on the back of changes made to the backroom staff including the recent appointments of assistant coach Joe O’Callaghan, performance and strength, and conditioning coach Simon Vardy, and men’s media manager Dave Parkinson.
“There’s been a lot of new additions to the backroom staff. There are a lot of new faces being considered and looked at in terms of playing personnel, both on UK soil and over in Australia.”
“Ultimately, I want a consistent squad where I want people to be proud to represent their country, not just in World Cup year, but in between, in the Euro comps and the emerging comps.”
“I just want a proud bunch of players that want to represent their country at any call and anytime.”
“I’ve been in and around it a long, long time as an assistant coach and have seen things happen, things that happen in sport, but it won’t happen on my watch. I want to be making those decisions in terms of players and personnel. I want to be able to select from the best players, but the best players aren’t always the best to pick.”
“The committed players are as passionate, if not more so! It is those committed players that I’ve got my eyes on. Especially in the long term going forward, I just can’t deal with the disappointment anymore. With players committing year in, year out, they have in the past been overlooked for the bigger player or the bigger marquee personality that’s at a Super League club or an NRL club.”
“My eye is cast towards those committed players. I want to give them an opportunity to represent our country in a World Cup and I know they will turn up the year after and the year after that.”
It would be hard to argue against this approach. Corcoran explained, “Part of the DNA is that you are a proud countryman every year, whether you are half busted or half injured, you are still proud to represent Ireland. That’s what I want. As an outsider looking in, I want people to look at my players and staff and say they are proud to wear our colours and represent Ireland on and off the field.”