How Cayless plans to develop Warriors youth

Nathan Cayless' arrival at the helm of the Warriors Intrust Super Premiership side provides a fresh start for the club in 2019 but he hopes his tenure will offer much more than just on-field success.

Having coached the Wentworthville Magpies over the past two seasons, Cayless joins the Warriors on a two-year deal in a role which will also focus on the professional development of young players aspiring to play in the NRL. 

His addition will prove crucial to implementing new pathway programs at the Warriors – a role which Cayless will take extreme pride in as he helps lay a strong foundation for players of the future. 

"My role is working a lot with the juniors and with those transitional players and helping them to prepare [and] be ready to play in the NRL,' Cayless told warriors.kiwi

"It's quite a broad role but something I'm very excited about, and the pre-season has been everything I have expected. The boys have been very professional."

Cayless developed a reputation as being one of the most feared forwards in Rugby League throughout a career that spanned 14 seasons – recording 259 first-grade games and 39 tests for New Zealand.

But his position in the Eels' Elite Player Programs, combined with his respective coaching roles in their SG Ball, Jersey Flegg and Intrust Super Premiership sides has now given him a greater understanding of player development. 

 
 
 
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Crediting Michael Maguire and Wayne Bennett for his progress as a coach, he now hopes his learned skills can help build a club culture that's committed to grassroots Rugby League. 

"That [experience] has given me a really good grounding to make sure that a football club runs well and the players get the education and development that they need," Cayless said

"That's part of the plan over here, we're looking at setting up and building a really solid pathways program for the Warriors and be able to work with a lot of young Kiwi players and obviously a lot of more experienced players with the senior team." 

One of the key aspects Cayless has identified in his short time at the Warriors is the unrivalled natural talent of young players in New Zealand.

There is, however, a vast difference in Rugby League knowledge which he believes he can provide to those looking to pursue a professional career in the NRL.

"From what I see here [the] athletic ability is a lot further ahead than kids in Sydney but having said that a lot of the boys have played rugby union and have not played much Rugby League at all," Cayless said.

"That's where the real education part comes in and that's a real strength for the Warriors where they can attract more kids from Rugby Union.

"That's something that the club is working on because there is so much talent in the country. 

"That's a big part of what we're setting up – setting up a program and a pathways program that parents, managers and players want to come and want to be a part of."

Cayless will look to improve on the Warriors seventh placed finish in 2018 and avenge their heart-breaking 21-20 loss in Week One of the Intrust Super Premiership finals. 

They welcome the addition of duo Lachlan Burr and Adam Keighran to the squad – Keighran finishing the regular season as the competition's leading point scorer with 200 points.