New coach Jason Taylor puts broom through Wests Tigers staff
October 11, 2014 - 10:00PM
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Chief Rugby League Reporter
“It is a tight group, which is something I’m pleased to come across”: Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor.
David Kidwell is one of the sole survivors as new mentor Jason Taylor puts a broom through the Wests Tigers’ coaching ranks.
Upon replacing Mick Potter, Taylor was given authority to bring in his own coaching staff and hasquickly embarked on a cleanout.
Former Tigers Steve Roach, Paul Sironen, Todd Payten and John Skandalis have remained involved with the club after their playing careers, but all will be moved on when pre-season training commences.
Like Potter, the quartet were all off contract and will not be given new deals. Sironen’s role as NYC manager no longer exists, while Roach will always be welcome to contribute at Concord Oval despite the Tigers opting not to continue with a specialist forwards coach.
Tigers NYC coach Andrew Webster has accepted a job as an assistant to Andrew McFadden at the Warriors, while former assistant Payten isn’t in the club’s plans moving forward.
The Tigers are yet to settle on a strength and conditioning coach, a position that has been held by Luke Portese.
Kidwell, who was an assistant to Potter, has been given an opportunity to remain with the joint-venture outfit after impressing in his first year in the job. He is also poised to join the New Zealand national side as an assistant to Stephen Kearney for the Four Nations.
Kidwell has a relationship with Taylor from their time at South Sydney; Kidwell was the Rabbitohs captain when Taylor was the head coach at the foundation club.
While he has only recently been appointed, Taylor has already begun to put his stamp on the Tigers. He has appointed Matt Cameron, with whom he worked at Parramatta, as an assistant.
The former North Sydney halfback also has a good relationship with another former Eels official – the Tigers’ new head of football, Phil Moss.
With the majority of his staff in place, Taylor is now focused on the best preparation for his playing roster when they return from their annual holiday. The former NSW representative has already met with his team .
“I’ve been pleasantly surprised with a number of things in relation to the attitude of the players,” Taylor said.
“It is a tight group, which is something I’m pleased to come across. It’s only early days. I’ve had a chat with the group and a few individuals.”
One of those individuals is Robbie Farah. The captain has conceded there were times when he questioned his future at the club during a tumultuous year, but Taylor said the Blues rake was in a good frame of mind in the lead up to the pre-season.
“We’ve talked about a lot of things and we walked away confident that we’ll build a good working relationship,” Taylor said.
The Tigers recently announced the signings of Kevin Naiqama for a one-year deal, and Chance Peni for two seasons.
Naiqama joins the Tigers after a stint with Penrith in which he scored seven tries in eight NRL appearances and was a key member of the NSW Cup premiership-winning Panthers side.