Retiring Warrington hooker Michael Monaghan is excited about joining Catalan Dragons as an assistant coach and believes he can help Todd Carney thrive in Super League.
Monaghan played the last game of his 14-year playing career in Warrington’s thrilling 16-12 play-off semi-final loss to Wigan. The 34-year-old has agreed to join Catalan as an assistant to Laurent Frayssinous for the next two seasons.
Monaghan, who was at Canberra Raiders when Carney was coming through as a junior a decade ago, told League Express he is looking forward to working with the stand-off.
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“I know him a little bit from my days at Canberra,” he said.
“He’s obviously a talented player, you don’t win Dally M medals in Australia if you can’t play the game, and I think the change of lifestyle in France is something that will help him.
“I’m sure I can be of benefit to him in some ways. I think he’s ready for the challenge of making rugby what people talk about him for, and Catalan is the perfect club for that. He’ll have some good people around him, and I don’t think anyone at the club will be too worried about Todd.”
Monaghan will replace David Waite on the Dragons’ coaching staff and will focus on attack.
“They’ve got a really good set-up over there,” he said.
You can see by the way they performed in the play-offs, they’ve certainly got a squad with a lot of depth and a lot of quality, and they’ve added to that for next year as well. I’m really happy about the move, I’m looking forward to it.”
As well as Carney, Catalan have signed Willie Tonga for next season and will welcome Rémi Casty back from the NRL.
“It’s a different year next year and, with the new system, there’s going to be some emphasis on the league finish from the regular end,” Monaghan said.
“They’re a talented team and they showed that at the back end of this year what they’re capable of. They’re a little bit similar to where we were a few years ago at Warrington.
“We had a lot of potential, but it’s just a matter of taking that next step and becoming a team that’s always up there around the trophies. Hopefully I can pass on what I’ve learned at Manly and now here about how we did that. The club’s definitely got the potential to do it [finish in the top four], it’s just a matter of realising it.”
Monaghan was denied a fairytale finish with Warrington when the Wolves were knocked out by Wigan in dramatic circumstances.
“We had the ball close to their line with four minutes to go and obviously it was disappointing,” Monaghan said.
“But I can’t fault the boys on their effort and the performance. It was disappointing to lose, but credit to the boys’ effort. We toughed it out in the first half and they had a few calls go their way.
“We probably didn’t play our best footy and we were under the pump for a fair bit of that first half. It was pretty similar to the last time we played them there. It could have gone either way, but unfortunately they got the points at the end.”
Monaghan said he has no regrets about the final match of his illustrious career.
“I thought we were going to be good enough there to get through, but that’s sport. Sometimes it comes down to fine margins.
“The result was disappointing, but I certainly won’t be complaining with that as my last game. It was a good game of footy, a good atmosphere, and a big game. There are worse ways to go out.”