Brett White enjoyed an illustrious NRL career with the Raiders and Storm, while also representing Australia and New South Wales. Having turned his talents to coaching, White will now be taking on the Raiders NYC head coaching position.
White was assistant coach of the team for the 2015 season, taking up his first head coaching positon after Mick Mantelli finished with the club. We sit down with Brett White to discuss his coaching philosophy and plans for his first season in charge:
Did you always want to be a coach or was it something that just happened after retirement?
I have always loved the game, loved the team environment and love being a part of that. I would probably struggle outside of a team environment. I was very lucky when I decided to retire from playing that Don Furner and Ricky Stuart offered me a chance to still be involved in the club, and I grabbed that opportunity with both hands.
How would you describe your coaching philosophy?
Well I’m yet to be a head coach of a game. I have plenty of ideas on that, as you go you work out what’s best suited to you. I think the important things that Ricky has reinforced to me are that I really need to be my own person, my own coach, my own style and learn what that is.
With Mick Mantelli leaving, what changes are you planning on implementing for the 2016 season?
Looking at last year just the improvement areas. With that age group they all love to attack with the ball and it’s the teams that can back that up with defence that are the better teams in the NYC. That is a big area we want to improvein thisyear.
What do you think is the most important attribute for a young player to be able to develop into a first grader?
To be a good person. My first message to the players when they come in on day one, they’re here to develop, not only as footballers, but as better people as well. We’re a very proud club here and want to have players that respect the club and are good people, not only in this football environment but out in public as well because they’re representing all of us.
Are there any current Raiders players you use as examples to the team on how best to transition to first grade?
You look at all current first grade players who have come through our system; our club captain Jarrod Croker is a prime example, a local boy and a great person. He is very successful and worked his way through the playing ranks right up to club captain and a lot of that is based on being a good person and developing as a player.
You had exposure to many great coaches throughout your career. Who would youcredit the most for the development of your coaching style?
Probably Dean Pay is a big one, an assistant here. I’m lucky enough to sit next to him in the office and ask a thousand questions. He has been an assistant coach for a long time and is a very knowledgeable person. Dean helps me out greatly as well as Mick Crawley. They are both in here (coaching office) and I get to ask a lot of questions of those guys that have both been in my position before.
How do you think the NYC team is shaping up for 2016?
We have a few guys from last year as well as a lot of new guys. I’m not really sure at the moment, probably too early to say after only a few training sessions. We have a long preseason ahead, so hopefully we will be able to develop those players.
Will you emphasis results in 2016 for the team? Or will player development remain the most important thing?
At that age player development is the most important thing, that’s why the NYC competition is there, to develop players. In saying that we want players to have a culture where they know what it takes and a lot of those players are very driven for success. Hopefully that means results take care of themselves.
Do you aspire one day to hold a first grade head coaching position?
Like what I tell the players; that’s an outcome and we don’t want to focus on outcomes, we want to focus on the process. It’s the same with my coaching career, it’s about getting things right now and then whatever outcomes happen will be the result of that.
Is life easier now on the other side of the sideline? Or do you miss playing?
Are you asking my mind or my body? It’s certainly a lot easier on my body, the mind wants to play forever and never wants to give that away.The body is the thing that holds you back,the body’s thankful.
Brett White's interview is featured in the fourth and final edition of the 2015 Raider magazine, which is now available. Also included in the magazine is an interview with Sia Soliola after he picked up the 2015 Meninga Medal.
CLICK HERE to read the online version of the Raider Magazine.
NOTE: Physical copies of the magazine will be available at Raiders HQ mid-December. There will be no copies sent via mailout.
CLICK HERE to read all of the past issues of this year's magazine.