International coach appointed to junior role on the Downs
RUGBY LEAGUE: The inaugural Hong Kong rugby league international coach will guide the Eastern Suburbs under-12 side this season in the Warwick and District Junior Rugby League.
Jason Fairleigh has been appointed to the dual role of under-12 coach and club coaching co-ordinator.
He moved to Warwick last month after his wife Chemane was appointed head of girls boarding at Scots PGC College.
With three children, Sam, 7, and twins Ben and Ashley, 3, Fairleigh will play the role of house husband, but is doing some part-time work with the NRL as a development officer.
He was one of the instigators of starting rugby league in Hong Kong in 2014 and was five-eighth and coach for the first international played last year against Japan which Hong Kong lost by two points.
"We beat Japan in the return game in Japan and played in the Emerging Nations World Cup in Sydney in October last year. It was a great thrill to make my international debut at age 42,” he said.
When he arrived in Warwick last month, most of the coaching positions were filled but he emailed Eastern Suburbs president Darren Hart who had a vacancy in the under-12 grade.
"The aim will be to keep the footy fun and teach the basics,” he said.
Jason is five years younger than his brother David Fairleigh, a retired NRL player and current North Queensland Cowboys assistant coach.
"David came over to Hong Kong and gave us a hand with coaching,” he said.
Fairleigh said he had wanted to come back to Australia after 11 years in Hong Kong so his wife's appointment in Warwick came at the right time.
"We have met some really nice people in Warwick and will be here for a long time,” he said.
Before moving to Hong Kong, Fairleigh played for Ourimbah Magpies on the Central Coast of New South Wales.