McGahan eyeing Warriors return with reserves

RESERVES OPTIONS: Hugh McGahan during his rugby coaching days in 2009.
RESERVES OPTIONS: Hugh McGahan during his rugby coaching days in 2009.

New Zealand rugby league great Hugh McGahan could be set to return to the Warriors next year as the manager of the reserve-grade side.

The club is after someone to run their NSW Cup side for 2014 and McGahan, who played 32 tests for the Kiwis, has put his hand up for the job.

McGahan was football manager at the Warriors in 1999, but was shown the door, along with a number of other management staff, when Eric Watson bought the club from Tainui a year later.

However, he is looking at getting involved with the Auckland club once again.

"We are going through the process of looking at possible managers and Hugh has put his hand up," confirmed Warriors coach Matt Elliott.

"He is a possibility, but some of that is down to our selection process and some of it is down to Hugh as well, because he has got some big business interests and he's making an assessment."

The NSW Cup will be given greater prominence by the NRL next year, and it will replace the under-20s competition as their second-highest profile tournament.

The Warriors have taken complete ownership of the NSW Cup side from the Auckland Rugby League, and they'll no longer be called the Auckland Vulcans.

While the NRL are just waking up to the idea that it's a better competition for developing players for first grade footy, it's something Elliott was doing this year as he promoted several of his best players up to the Vulcans before selecting them for the under-20s side in their playoff games.

"What you saw last year with the young guys we played up in the NSW Cup was that when they went back to the 20s they made a high level contribution, and I expect that to be the same next year," Elliott said.

Meanwhile, Elliott said he would have liked to have kept Pita Godinet at the club for next year but understood it was in the best interest of the player to allow him to move to Super League club Wakefield Trinity.

"I was looking forward to having Pita as part of the squad, but at some stage as an organisation you've got to still put the club first, but also understand things from a personal perspective.

"Pita has got an opportunity to prolong a good level of earning that we wouldn't have been able to compete with.

"There is certainly no animosity in this and I've got to say I'm kind of sad about it, because on a personal level Pita has been fantastic for the group on and off the field.

"He's a player I've had a really good relationship with and I was able to get a lot of insights into what was going on, so he'll be missed on that level.

"But he's been given a great opportunity at Wakefield and obviously he wants to be playing first team footy, and this is going to give him the best opportunity to do that.

"If I was picking a team for this weekend, at best he'd be on the bench and he's got an opportunity there to be a starting halfback."

The Warriors had an option on Godinet for next year which they initially took up before allowing him to move on.

Godinet played 10 games for the Warriors last year. It is likely Nathan Friend and Siliva Havili will spend most of next year wearing the No 9 jersey, but Elliott said there are other options.

"We also need to acknowledge Chad Townsend and Thomas [Leuluai] has played international rugby league at hooker," he said.

"I don't think our hooker depth is enhanced by losing Pita, but what it does tell us is that with people like Siliva, we've got to make sure we invest time into him."

Sunday News