BALL 'N' ALL
Things are looking up for the Sea Eagles' SG Ball side. Passionate first-year head coach and club favourite son Chad Randall has the potential to be exactly what Manly needs to turn things around for 2015.
The former NRL and Super League player has managed to coach his boys to a promising two-from-three start to 2015 and is hoping it’s just the beginning for his team.
“We’re a confident team, but I’m not going to go out and say exactly what we’re going to do. Each week the boys need to turn up, play their best and fill their role within the team,” said Randall, whose side has scored two large wins, a 48-0 victory against Wests and a 50-8 shellacking of West Coast Pirates, in the competition's opening three weeks.
Last year, the Sea Eagles finished 14th on the ladder, missing out on the semi-finals. Although happy with their start to the season Randall doesn’t plan to let his team dwell on early wins:
“It’s a week-to-week thing and we don’t want to get too carried away when it’s early, but if we continue, I think we can go pretty well.”
Coach Chad Randall’s practical outlook and level head may be a result of both his long playing career and the passion for rugby league that runs in his blood. His father, Terry Randall, was part of the successful Sea Eagles teams of the 1970s and represented both New South Wales and Australia during his prime.
Following suit, Chad went on to have a noteworthy playing career himself, debuting in first grade for the Northern Eagles in 2002 as a hooker. He spent three years competing for the NRL’s Northern Eagles and the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles before testing his skills in the English Super League, where he spent eight seasons with the London Broncos.
Randall played 181 top-grade matches for the London-based club that played under the Harlequins name between 2006 and 2011.
While in England, Chad helped with coaching the junior sides, especially during times when he was nursing injuries. He found that he really enjoyed being on the coaching side and following his retirement and return to Australia, he continued his footballing journey and pursued coaching opportunities.
Last year, the Manly local served as the assistant coach for the Sea Eagles' SG Ball side. When offered the opportunity to be the head coach for the 2015 season, Randall gladly accepted.
“I’ve always been drawn to the coaching side of footy and it’s good to be getting back into it now, especially back at Manly.”
A deep thinker of the game while he was a player, going into coaching has been a smooth transition. Randall is not short on bits of advice and words of wisdom for his players. He stresses commitment, passion and positive play, qualities that helped Randall throughout his playing career.
“I tell my boys to play footy to win, not to not lose. There’s a difference in going out there and playing to win versus going out there and trying not to lose,” he said.
Just as he preaches to his players the importance of taking games head on week by week and improving each round, Randall takes his own advice to heart and strives to continually improve as a coach as well.
“You always keep learning,” said Chad.
“From what I hear and what I read from coaches who have been doing it for lots and lots of years, you’re learning every day. It never stops.”