DateSeptember 25, 2014 - 10:00PM 23 reading now
Chief Rugby League Reporter
Craig Bellamy has given David Kidwell’s coaching credentials a ringing endorsement as Wests Tigers prepare to make a call on the man to replace Mick Potter.
Kidwell, Jason Taylor, Anthony Griffin, Nathan Brown and Todd Payten have all been interviewed for the post, with the joint-venture club’s new board meeting on Thursday night to debate the options.
Kidwell, who alongside Payten was Potter’s assistant at the Tigers, has a long history with Bellamy. The New Zealand international joined the Storm as a player in 2003, the same year Bellamy was handed the clipboard. Kidwell then spent three years under Bellamy as a coach before moving to Sydney last year for family reasons. Those experiences have convinced Bellamy that Kidwell would be a worthy head coach at the Tigers or another NRL club.
“Going on what I saw in the three years he’s had with us [as a deputy] – and obviously he’s coached the Junior Kiwis as well – he’d be getting very close to being ready to coach first grade,” Bellamy said. "He was a very team-orientated player, that’s what he was like, and that’s what I found was one of his greatest strengths as a coach. Whatever needs doing, he’ll get in and get it done if he thinks it will help the team. He’s very knowledgeable about the game, he was always a smart player and will always do what he needs to do. As a coach he works with two teams – the one that goes out on the field and also the coaching team as well. He was very giving in both areas.
“He is a very mature guy for his age. He’s got great pride in his origins as a person and that filters in through how he played and how he coached. He’d do a good job if he could get a start.”
Melbourne have a strong track record of producing NRL coaches, with Michael Maguire, Stephen Kearney and Brad Arthur all graduating to head coach status. Bellamy said Kidwell shared many of the traits that made the trio successful. “They’ve got certain qualities that not only make good coaches but they make people successful in whatever field they go out to in the workforce,” Bellamy said.
“It doesn’t mean winning premierships all the time; successful means getting the best out of what you’ve got in your team. A lot of the traits of those three guys, Kiddy has got a lot of their traits as well. Him and Steve are proud people and they’ve got a lot of pride in what they do. There’s one similarity there but I see a bit of Kiddy in the other two as well. He always gave his best and is a very team-orientated person. Everyone wants to be successful but how hard you work to be successful, that’s the thing. And Kiddy has a very good work ethic.”
All the Tigers coaching staff are off contract, which means Kidwell could miss out on both the head coaching and assistant’s roles. However, the high praise from respected premiership-winning mentor Bellamy suggests he will not be in limbo for long.