As both a Super League and NRL champion, Luke Burgess knows all too well what makes a good coach.
The 30-year-old has played under Grand Final winning coaches Brian McClennan, Brian McDermott and Michael Maguire during his career, while last year he got a glimpse into the workings of former England coach Steve McNamara at Catalans.
Now, Burgess is working under a much lesser-known coach in Ian Watson, the young Red Devils chief who has made a massive impression since taking the role.
He’s also earned approval from Burgess, with the former Leeds and South Sydney ace backing the 41-year-old to have a successful coaching career.
“It’s been awesome to team back up with him,” he said.
“The thing for me is that he’s the kind of guy you feel relaxed around. He takes everything on board, his man-management is brilliant. You wouldn’t find anyone who’d have a bad word to say about him. He’s great to be around in training because it’s a great feeling, but then the players respect him and know when to turn it on. That’s the mix he’s got here. He gets a good response from the players.
“He’s really passionate. He’s a nerd. He loves Rugby League and I think to be a successful coach you’ve got to live and breath the game, which he does. He’s a young coach with a lot of aspirations.
“He’s willing to learn, change and listen to his players and coaches. I honestly believe he’ll be around for a long time.”
Burgess has reunited with Watson after a short stint with the club in 2016, and he admitted he always wanted to stay.
“I’m excited to be back,” he said.
“I really enjoyed my time here in 2016 and I’m looking forward to spending some more time with this club.
“To be honest, when I left in 2016 I was hopeful I could come back here. It didn’t work out, but I’ve managed to come back with a new deal and I love the place.”