Looks like Toddy Payten wants to coach in the NRL one day. Would love to see him be the next Tigers coach.
He must be good, to get the Toyota Cup team to the top spot.
Would love to hear thoughts on his potential for first grade?
With Wests Tigers under 20s team on top of the ladder after 10 rounds, Scott Dougherty spoke to impressive first-year coach Todd Payten.
THROUGHOUT his 259 NRL games, Todd Payten was described as a halfback in a prop’s body because of the big man’s skill and footy knowledge.
Now as the Tigers under 20s coach, he can use that footy brain to devise game plans and to get the best out of his young troops.
He’s doing that, as his team leads the way in the Toyota Cup.
“I do miss playing, and I don’t at the same time,” he said.
"I miss the camaraderie you get when you work hard at something with a group of people.
“But I’m not as sore and tired any more.”
After seven seasons with Wests, he retired at the end of last year due to a chronic knee injury.
His coach for all those years at the Tigers, and his early Canberra Raiders days, is now a sounding board for his coaching ideas.
“I’m amazed how little I know,” Payten said. "Tim [Sheens] has been good. He lets me make my own decisions and his only ask of me was to make sure the players were fit and disciplined.
"And if the player is good enough, he’d get a shot in first grade.
“I get a kick out of seeing them step up.”
With a talented bunch, Payten sees 10, or even more, of his squad as genuine first grade prospects.
“And I see five or six proper first graders in the next 18 months,” he said.
Three of those are Campbelltown Collegians junior David Nofoaluma, East Campbelltown Eagles junior Inno Inosesio and Macquarie Fields Hawks junior Sauaso Sue.
“David is a strong winger,” Payten said.
"He provides good go-forward, lots of tackle breaks and a few tries.
"Inno is a short nugget of a back-rower and Jesse [Sauaso] is a big physical presence. He’s a man amongst boys at the moment.
“All three have class and a future in the game.”
To be able to coach at the highest level is an ambition for Payten, and he believes he’s in the best position to learn what he needs to know to get there.
“It’s definitely a goal of mine,” he said.
“I can only see it happening in eight to 10 years or so. I’d love to stay under Tim.”
With his close proximity to the first grade team, and some of his best mates in the team, Payten is obviously keeping an eye on how his former team is tracking.
“They are winning games and not playing well, so that’s a good sign,” he said.
“For me, Aaron Woods and Liam Fulton have been the standout players so far.”