FORMER Neath rugby coach Steve Stone has been appointed as the Albury-Wodonga Steamers’ director of coaching.
Stone, who moved to the Border five years ago, will oversee the club’s off-field leadership with Scott Glover, Nathan Honeyman and Dave Stuart to lead the first grade team.
Club stalwart Don Cameron has stepped down after six seasons at the helm at Murrayfield.
Stone said yesterday he was excited by the challenges that come with switching from a professional club in Wales to an amateur Southern Inland Rugby Union club.
“I’m from Wales so obviously rugby is a religion over there,” Stone said.
“When you come to places like Albury- Wodonga it’s all AFL so if you can imagine the AFL in Victoria times a thousand then that’s what it is like back in Wales.
“I have been watching the home games here for the last couple of years.
“It’s going to be a challenge for the first year or two but we have a five-year plan in place and hopefully in that time we will start kicking some butt.”
Stone, who has a first-class honours degree in coaching and was involved in six Neath premierships, has spent the past two years working in video analysis for several English premiership league teams.
Club president Justin Clancy said the Steamers were eager to build on this year after Cameron took the club to the grand final.
“There are exciting times ahead for the club,” Clancy said.
“The short-term challenge will be to develop the new coaching group while building on the success of 2012 and earlier seasons.”
Stuart, who coached the SIRU in 2009 and 2010, was an assistant coach at Murrayfield this season, while Honeyman has an extensive background in junior rugby.
Glover has playing and coaching experience at state level for the ACT and NSW Rugby and was another assistant coach with the Steamers last season.
Troy Tatchell has been appointed coach of second grade.
The club will hold introductory sessions on December 13 and 29 at Waite’s Park, Albury, before starting pre-season training on January 15.