The Papakura Sea Eagles announced earlier today that John Ackland will be taking on the head coach position for the Premier team in 2022. Jody Henry coached the Premier side in 2021 and will stay on as an assistant to Ackland in the upcoming season.
Ackland brings a unique depth of experience to the Papakura club, having been involved in all levels of rugby league in New Zealand across multiple decades. Ackland will look to lead the club in developing home-grown talent from the Papakura and Franklin area.
Long associated with Mt Albert, Ackland is coming from three seasons there in the Premier head coach role. Ackland has been involved with other clubs in the Auckland region, helping with the promotion to Otahuhu to the Fox division in 2017.
Ackland endured great coaching success with the Junior Warriors in the Toyota Cup competition, claiming two titles in 2010-11 and a season as runner-up. He has also coached in an assistant role with the Warriors and as head coach of the Samoan National team in 2008, taking them to the World Cup.
“I’m excited about coaching Papakura in 2022. The club has a huge and growing catchment area and rugby league needs a strong club in the deep South”, Ackland said. “Traditionally, I’ve thought the Sea Eagles have been well administered and the people I’ve met from the board and committee so far have confirmed that view”.
The Papakura Sea Eagles last won the Fox Memorial Shield in 2016 and will be looking to get back to that level. The 2022 campaign will begin with the Fox Memorial Championship Qualifiers.
“I’m looking forward to playing my part in building on the excellent job done started by Jody Henry in 2021”, commented Ackland.
Jody Henry is looking forward to assisting Ackland in the upcoming season, connecting with the players leading up to the season and looking to reinvigorate the entire Papakura club.
“I’m confident that we can improve significantly, both in terms of individual and team performance and wider club outcomes”, Henry said.
The club is working to establish themselves as the club of choice in the Papakura and Franklin area, a whānau oriented club with the right coaching to create authentic rugby league players and good people.
Papakura are also looking to develop the women’s game at the club spearheaded with hopes of the Women’s Premiership team returning in 2022 and a quest to fulfil U12, U14, U16 and U18 grades.
Article added: Wednesday 15 December 2021
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