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Ndaira to tap into Matterson legacy for Jets

There will still be a hint of Greg Matterson when recently appointed Newtown Jets coach George Ndaira takes over the reins at the successful Sydney club.

Matterson has stepped aside from The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup team after 15 years with a train of silverware behind him.

That’s why Ndaira is adamant some of Matterson’s legacy will remain, while he mixes in some of his own flavour and ideas.

“They were successful last season, so I don’t need to go re-inventing the wheel or change too much around,” Ndaira told

“But I want to obviously add my own little bits to the set-up.

“I’ve seen how successful they’ve been. I’ll be keeping the good parts and bringing in some of my own things. I won’t be flipping the whole thing upside down.”

Ndaira, who was coached by Matterson in the 2007 Jets side, was his NSW Cup assistant (2017-2021) following a stint with Rick Stone at the Newcastle Knights (2013-2016).

The Jets are the NRL feeder club to the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, with Ndaira coaching the Jersey Flegg Cup team in 2022.

He is relishing his return to Newtown with a successful Jets team – they won The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup Minor Premiership in 2022 and reached the Preliminary Final before just falling short to the Bulldogs.

Ndaira also helped coach the successful 2019 Premiership-winning Jets side.

Off the back of the 2022 success, he has several Jets players including Lachie Miller (most tackle busts in NSW Cup) and Kayal Iro (most post-contact metres), currently training with True Blue Craig Fitzgibbon’s NRL Sharks so is unsure of the make-up of his squad for next season.

“Everything is a bit up in the air right now, it depends on how those players train during the pre-season, and the World Cup has disrupted things a little too,” Ndaira said.

“It will depend on how everyone comes back after Christmas and how they go in the pre-season. Everything is up to them really.”

The Jets had Billy Magoulias (Greece), Iro (Cook Islands) and Ryan King (Italy) in World Cup action but Magoulias has already fronted when Jets pre-season training began three weeks ago.

“We’ve got a couple of the young kids from the Flegg side I coached last year so it’s a younger squad at the moment,” Ndaira said.

“And then we’ve got some experience to come back in with players like Billy, who can show the younger ones what it takes to make it in reserve grade.”

Ndaira has a fair bit of knowledge in that department from his 25 NRL games with the Dragons, Rabbitohs and Knights.

It was after his stint with the Knights that Ndaira accepted a captain-coach role with the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs.

“It was a way to transition out of footy and start coaching, while still keeping my toe in the water with regards to playing,” he said.

“I always thought coaching would be something I’d be interested in but wasn’t sure how I’d go or if I’d actually enjoy it. I did that for a couple of years and yes, I did enjoy it – a lot.”

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