Wakefield Trinity: Why Willie Poching got the top job for good

WILLIE Poching is the new head coach of Wakefield Trinity after a “unanimous” decision was made by the club’s chief executive Michael Carter and its board of directors.

The 48 year-old had been in interim charge since stepping up from this assistant’s role when Chris Chester was sacked last month.

Back then, the club was loitering near the foot of Super League with a miserable record but the New Zealander has since overseen a run of five wins out of seven to round off the campaign.

Carter said he had around 15 expressions of interest in the job and he and chairman John Minards met three candidates.

However, Poching has earned the role full-time and secures his first head coach job after years working as an assistant at Leeds Rhinos, Warrington Wolves, Hull KR, Huddersfield Giants, Salford Red Devils and Trinity.

At a press conference this morning, Carter spoke of the club’s “delight” in appointing him after a “very, very thorough process.

Carter added: "He has shown over the last six to seven weeks, how thorough he can be as head coach and how he can get his message across to the players.

"I am delighted he has agreed to become the new head coach of Wakefield Trinity.

"He said it at the outset - and kind of regretted it a little - that he was doing a live audition for the role.

“He has responded to that in a fantastic and magnificent manner.

"I go into the changing room after games really just to listen to what’s being said as a quick debrief and I try to get into video review sessions.

“I never say anything because that’s not my place to do so but I like to listen and watch.

Wakefield Trinity head coach Willie Poching (TONY JOHNSON/JPIMEIDA)

"The way he has conducted himself and got us playing over the last six to seven weeks, enjoying coming to work for me, that’s shown the way we’ve played the game these last six or seven weeks.

“I always want to be excited by coming to work and watching games. I’ve certainly felt that myself.

"And the board has felt that as well that this is Willie's time. “He’s done a long apprenticeship for a head coach, is a very thorough man in how he goes about his business and it was a culmination of factors.

"When it comes to picking a head coach, you get a gut feel as well. A lot of the time that can be one of the biggest factors with what you go with.

Wakefield Trinity CEO Michael Carter celebrates with loose forward Joe Westerman, with Will Poching in the background. (ALLAN MCKENZIE/SWPIX)

“Certainly for me and the rest of the Board, it was certainly a unanimous decision to go with Willie."

Poching, who will be given chance to appoint his own coaching team should he wish, said: “I am extremely proud to sit in this seat and coach the team of the city I have lived in for a long time, one of the teams I played for and a team with such an illustrious history.

"There has been a lot of success at this club but not for a little while. To lead that now and try and get some of that back, is a challenge I am looking forward to.

"I am pleased and deeply honoured.”

With every win, there was a growing clamour for the popular former Trinity and Leeds second-row to get the job.

But Poching insisted: “I never got overly-confident.

“I was approaching everything week by week. My focus was on getting the team through those final games.

"I probably had my fingers crossed at the time that enough good performances would give me a chance. Thankfully we got that."

And he finally gets to run his own team after years of working as a No2.

“"There were times when I did question if this [being a head coach] was going to happen,” Poaching added.

“I chased it, I kept chasing and I am here now.

"I have just got to prove to myself I can do it. It has been a long road but I learnt a lot along the way.

"Every team I worked with taught me something. Within that there were a lot of valuable lessons.

“The family was really happy when I told them. My wife was stoked. At the start of my coaching career I asked her for 10 years - and now it’s 15!”

Poching says recruitment is his first main task as he gets building for 2022.

However, he has been warned by the club that budgets are likely to be cut with next year’s new broadcast deal amounting to around a £450,000 shortfall for Trinity.