Sport

Cowboys and USA's Matterson wanted out west

WELCOME: Former Brisbane Bronco star and current USA coach Terry Matterson (centre) has been identified by the Western Corridor NRL bid boss Steve Johnson (left) as an ideal coach for the side.
WELCOME: Former Brisbane Bronco star and current USA coach Terry Matterson (centre) has been identified by the Western Corridor NRL bid boss Steve Johnson (left) as an ideal coach for the side. Georgina Hannah

USA Tomahawks coach Terry Matterson will be headhunted by the Western Corridor NRL franchise should it win admission into an expanded competition.

Matterson, currently Cowboys' assistant coach, has worked wonders with the undefeated Tomahawks team at the World Cup that is now bound for a quarter-final clash with Australia.

Western Corridor NRL bid chairman Steve Johnson, who is also the Tomahawks team manager, said Matterson was "exactly the kind of coach we are looking for".

"Terry has all the attributes we are looking for in a start-up club. He ticks all the boxes," Johnson said.

"He met most of the guys in the Tomahawks team for the first time at the airport in Sydney.

"He came to my house the night before we left and we spoke about the players. I gave him some background on them all, and that is basically all he knew about them.

"Ever since, he has gone out of his way to understand each player and what motivates them."

"He has that unique ability, like (former Cowboys coach) Graham Murray could, of really making a team come together."

Matterson, 46, has an outstanding CV as a player and coach. After leaving the Roosters he was a dual premiership winner at the Brisbane Broncos before linking with the London Broncos where he was the captain.

He has been an assistant coach at the Raiders and was head coach of Castleford for six years before linking with the Cowboys

"Terry was a very skilful ball playing back-rower and one of those players that, a bit like Phil Gould, seem to make good coaches," Johnson said.

"He understands the game very well and he can teach it. Anyone that has played under Terry speaks highly of him as a coach that can both motivate and teach.

"He is exactly the type of coach the Western Corridor is looking for. He can obviously coach, and he is a humble guy who loves doing work with kids and organisations away from footy.

"There is no doubt he can pull a foundation club together. He has got a nice relaxed personality but when he needs to be he is tough. He makes really smart decisions managing these players and they are already playing for him out of respect.

"Terry understands that we have a very wide range of players with us. We have got guys coming off the back of a tough NRL season. We have got Intrust Super Cup and NSW Cup players, players from other levels and the Americans."

The Tomahawks, who have five Ipswich personnel in the coaching, playing and back-up staff on board, have thrived under Matterson's leadership with limited preparation.

A pre-tournament win over France was followed up by World Cup victories over Cook Islands and Wales.

"Terry kept the game plan simple against France and didn't complicate things," Johnson said.

"France had been in camp for three weeks and were specials for the semi-finals, but we put them away.

"We beat the Cook Islands and then Wales, which had been in camp together a while too.

"I went to a function in Wales with the Welsh team… and they had no doubt they were going to put a score on us. But Terry kept the boys focussed and working on our simple structure and plans."

Johnson said Matterson's experiences in the Super League as a coach had been beneficial.

"Michael Maguire went over there and fine-tuned himself, as Kevvie Walters has done," he said.

"Coaches that have gone to England where the set-ups aren't as good as they are in Australia, have come back better coaches for it.

"They have greater appreciation of the hard work people do around them, and are able to put together really good personnel off field and on field. Everywhere you go in England Terry is revered as a coach and a person."

Topics:  rugby league world cup steve johnson western corridor nrl



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