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Willie Poching 'extremely proud' to take over as Wakefield head coach

The 48-year-old former Trinity forward stepped in as interim boss following the sacking of Chris Chester in August.

Willie Poching says a decade-long apprenticeship has fully prepared him to become a head coach after he was confirmed in the role by Wakefield.

TheΒ 48-year-old former Trinity forward stepped in as interim boss following the sacking of Chris Chester in August and enhanced his reputation by guiding the team to five wins from their last seven matches of the Super League season.

Wakefield chief executive Michael Carter says he had around 15 expressions of interest in the job and, after speaking to people outside the club and to senior players, chose Poching from a four-man shortlist.

"I am delighted that Willie has agreed to become the new head coach of Wakefield Trinity," Carter said.

"I think Willie has shown over the last six or seven weeks how thorough he can be as a head coach and how he can get his message across to the playing group.

"The board have felt that it is Willie's time. He has done a long apprenticeship as a head coach, it was a unanimous decision to go with Willie.

"It became an easy decision as time went on. I think he deserves it for what he has done, not only in the last six or seven weeks, but over the course of his coaching career.

"I think Wakefield Trinity is a good fit for Willie and Willie is a good fit for Wakefield Trinity."

Poching, a New Zealand and Samoa international, madeΒ 69 appearances for the club from 1999-2001 before going on to spend five seasons with Leeds, where he was a member of their 2004 Grand Final-winning team.

Wakefield Trinity v Warrington Wolves – Betfred Super League – Mobile Rocket Stadium
Willie Poching, left, in discussions with Warrington assistant coach Lee Briers before a Super League match at the Mobile Rocket Stadium in August (Martin Rickett/PA)

After hanging up his boots, Poching undertook assistant coaching roles with Leeds, Warrington, Salford, Huddersfield and Hull KR before joining Wakefield's backroom staff at the start of the 2021 season.

Poching said: "I'm extremely proud to coach the team of the city I live in and have lived in a for a long time.

"There's been a lot of success at this club but not for a little while and to be able to lead that and get some of that back is a challenge I'm looking forward to.

"There were times when I did question whether this would happen. I kept chasing and I'm here now. I've just got to prove it to myself that I can do it.

"It's been a long road but I've learnt a lot along the way. While I questioned it at times, every team that I worked with taught me something and within that there are a lot of valuable lessons."

Carter says Poching will be given the chance to select his own support staff but will be forced to work under a shoestring budget as Trinity cope with a cut in central funding and the impact of the pandemic.

Carter said: "It's going to be difficult. Everybody knows the TV deal is down for next year and for a club like ours, that probably means the best part of Β£450,000 that won't be coming across our front doorstep next year.

"We are already run close to the bone in terms of costs so we've got to find revenue streams so it's certainly not going to be easy but Willie understands that.

"We'll provide as much as we can to make that squad as good as we can. We will probably have to run a bit skinnier than we have in the past."

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