New Wattles coach brings NRL experience to club
RUGBY LEAGUE: After 202 games at NRL and Super League level, Travis Burns has some unfinished business when he takes on his new role as Wattles Warriors A-grade coach.
"I have never won a premiership in senior footy and want to win one in my last season as a player,” Burns said.
Sixteen years after debuting in A grade for Wattles in a game against Warwick at Father Ranger Oval, Burns is back as a player.
"I won't be captain, the boys respect current captain Ryan Duggan and just being a player (as well as coach) will take some pressure off me,” he said.
Burns will play five-eighth in A grade for Wattles outside of a player he describes as the best half in the TRL, Matt Duggan.
"I play better with a half who controls the game like Matt,” Burns said.
He said teams needed a lot to go their way, including minimal injuries, to win premierships.
"I can guarantee we will be very competitive,” he said.
"I won a premiership as a junior but never in senior footy. I am excited to be appointed coach of such an exciting group of young players.”
Most of this season's squad have committed for next season and the club has some new recruits.
Wattles president Glyn Rees said all the coaches were appointed on Sunday.
"Everyone was positive at the meeting about the 2018 season. We are looking at a year of celebrations, deserved recognition and onfield competitiveness,” Rees said.
Burns played 127 NRL games for Manly, North Queensland and Penrith before playing 75 British Super League games with Hull Kingston Rovers, St Helens and Leigh Centurians.
He was on standby on one occasion for a position in the halves for the Queensland State of Origin team.
This year's A-grade coach Gary Lawrence did not seek re-appointment.
Garth Lonergan and Michael Crank will continue as joint player coaches in reserve grade, and Shaun Henry is the new Wattles under-18 coach.
Rees said Henry was an experienced Wattles Junior Rugby League Club premiership-winning coach who had also been at the helm of Warwick and District Junior Rugby League representative teams.
"He has held management roles in divisional representative teams and had previously coached Wattles at under-18 level,” he said.
The 2018 year will include a 100-year anniversary of the the birth of rugby league in Allora, the 50th anniversary of the Wattles club and the 50th anniversary of the Wattles Under 16 Toowoomba Rugby League premiership win.