Wakefield Trinity: Willie Poching named permanent head coach after successful spell as interim boss

Wakefield Trinity have confirmed that Willie Poching is the club's new permanent head coach after he guided the club to five wins from seven games as interim boss.

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 12:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 12:16 pm

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Chief executive Michael Carter revealed the board's decision to appoint Poching, who spent three seasons at Wakefield as a player between 1999 and 2001, was unanimous.

"After a very, very thorough process, the club are delighted to announce the new head coach will be Will Poching," Carter said at a press conference on Wednesday morning.

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com - 15/08/2021 - Rugby League - Betfred Super League Round 19 - Wakefield Trinity v Warrington Wolves - Beaumont Legal Stadium, Wakefield, England - Wakefield interim coach Willie Poching at his first game in charge against Warrington.

"He has shown over the last six to seven weeks, how thorough he can be as head coach and how he can get through to the players.

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

Carter revealed that another 15 people were interested in the permanent role. Three of those candidates reached the interview stage but Carter feels they have got the right man in Poching.

"Willie said at the outset that he was doing a live audition. He has responded to that in a fantastic and magnificent manner," added Carter.

Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com - 05/09/2021 - Rugby League - Dacia Magic Weekend 2021 - Huddersfield Giants v Wakefield Trinity - St. James's Park, Newcastle, England - Wakefield Trinity's Chris Green celebrates scoring a try

"I go into the changing room after games and try to get into video review sessions because I like to listen and watch.

"The way he has conducted himself and got us playing over the last six to seven weeks has got people excited to come into work. The board has felt that as well about Willie's time in charge. He is a very thorough man in how he goes about his business.

"When it comes to picking a head coach, you get a gut feeling as well. It was a unanimous decision to go with Willie."

Poching has taken a long road to becoming head coach at club level, having served as an assistant for several years since hanging up his playing boots.

He was the academy coach at Leeds as well as the head coach of Samoa before he moved from Leeds to become assistant coach to Tony Smith at the Warrington Wolves.

The 48-year-old became assistant coach at Salford Red Devils for the 2017 season. He later re-joined Hull Kingston Rovers and Tony Smith as assistant coach before returning to Wakefield.

"I am extremely proud to sit in this seat of the city I have lived in for a long time and one of the teams I played for and a team with such an illustrious history," said Poching.

"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."

Wakefield were one of Super League's top-performing sides during Poching's short spell in charge but he insists he never got ahead of himself when it came to thinking about landing the role permanently.

He added: "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.

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