Shane Endacott keeps league family tradition

TONY SMITH
Last updated 05:00 18/06/2011

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Former Warrior Shane Endacott is very much his own man as an aspiring rugby league coach. But his famous father, Frank, has some words of wisdom for his son – and a friendly warning, too.

"It's only a matter of time before he loses his hair," chuckles Frank, the former Warriors, Wigan and Kiwis coach. "I had a good head of hair before I started coaching."

Shane Endacott – in his first season as head coach of top-of-the-table Canterbury club Halswell – always had a passion to coach, but the business world beckoned first.

Many former pros plunge straight into coaching after hanging up their boots. But there's always been more strings to Endacott's bow than football. He has a Bachelor of Science degree – "even did a few papers on earthquakes, which has come in handy" – from the University of Canterbury.

His football earnings – from playing for the Sydenham and Papanui clubs – meant he "left university without a student loan".

A standoff half or loose forward with a huge work rate, Endacott played for the Canterbury Cardinals and Christchurch City Shiners in the national championship. A day after his last university exam, he left for a "grow up very quickly" learning curve season with Yorkshire club Hull.

He joined the Warriors in 1996, playing in father Frank's reserve grade team, which made the grand final that year, before making his first-grade debut under Australian coach John Monie, who was later sacked and replaced by Frank Endacott.

Shane pulled the pin as a player in 1999 after four years and 42 first-grade games for the Warriors.

"I retired at 28, when I probably had another three or four seasons left in me, but I had to make a tough call. My wife, Jane, had fallen pregnant with our first daughter, Danielle. My only real option, financially, was to go back to the UK [to play] or get into business, and I chose business."

In his second year at the Warriors, he and Aaron Whittaker, another exiled Cantabrian, asked to work in the club's office "instead of going home and getting on the PlayStations between trainings". He began to learn about marketing and forged a friendship with then Warriors marketing manager Hamish Miller, who is now All Whites captain Ryan Nelsen's manager and business partner.

Endacott's first business venture was through the "As Seen on TV business".

"A mate ran the company which bought Suzanne Paul out, so Jane and I opened three retail stores up there. After that, we formed a company with Hamish Miller."

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The Endacotts – father and son – are still linked with Miller, who runs the Roar Sports Marketing Group in Auckland. Frank – now a player agent – has high-profile players under his wing in his

company called Roar Talent. Shane runs Roar Materials, which supplies sports equipment to companies through sponsorship packages leveraged by Miller. He works with some national sporting bodies and supplies McDonald's franchise stores with rugby balls, netballs, soccer balls, cones and drink bottles.

The Endacotts had "six solid years" devoted to business and bringing up daughters Danielle and Brooke in Auckland before home called in 2006. "We sold up our three stores and moved back down here, because we wanted the kids to be close to both sets of grandparents."

They couldn't be much closer to his folks. Shane and Jane live on a lifestyle block in Clarkville in an Endacott enclave. Frank and wife Joan have a house over the road and Shane's brother Gary is "two houses down". Gary's league-loving sons go to the same country school as Shane and Jane's daughters.

"It was a tough call leaving Auckland. Business was going well. But you can't put a price tag on your family over the road and having their support."

It wasn't long before leaguies in Christchurch knew Shane was back in town. His company was supplying gear to the Celebration Lions club, who asked him to help coach their premier team.

He became their assistant coach in 2009 and was set to take over the head coaching helm last year, but business commitments took him to Auckland.

After returning home, he was approached by the Halswell Hornets and agreed to replace retiring former Canterbury Bulls coach and former Kiwis assistant Phil Prescott.

"It's certainly a good club. You get plenty of support, we've got a good management team in place, the players want to be there and we get very good turnouts. I'm enjoying it. It certainly helps when you're winning."

Halswell – who haven't played in a grand final since their 2003 triumph – won the Tavendale Cup for topping the first round. They've won nine of their first 10 matches, losing only to the Linwood Keas, but beat arch rivals Hornby – Endacott's boyhood club.

Endacott is first to admit he is "reaping the benefits" of Prescott's expert nurturing of Halswell's predominantly young team.

"Phil's an extremely good coach. He's done a great job over the last two years. A lot of those young guys have benefited from Phil's coaching. Most of them had the skills already. My job's been moulding them this year."

A former Canterbury Rugby League coaching development manager, Whittaker says Endacott is well organised and has benefited from his experience as a professional player.

"He puts a big emphasis on defence but he likes to see his team scoring tries".

Frank Endacott was dubbed "Happy Frank" for his sunny disposition and his uncanny rapport with his players. So is his son, Smiley Shane, a chip off the old block?

Whittaker believes the younger Endacott shares some of his dad's man-management knack. But he says – and both Endacotts agree – Shane adds his own qualities.

But Shane says he's "often popping on the phone or walking over the road to ask his advice".

- The Press

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