Wigan Warriors prop Tony Clubb is already working on what he plans to do after he retires from the game, and he is making sure he won’t be too far away from the action.
The 32-year-old, who joined Wigan from London Broncos in 2014, understands he is in the twilight of his career and he has taken on a coaching role with the Warriors’ Under-18s Academy squad.
Clubb has plenty of experience to pass on to the youngsters coming through, having made his professional debut for the Broncos in 2006 and since winning the Super League Grand Final and the World Club Challenge with Wigan.
“I’ve been interested in coaching for a little while,” said Clubb.
“I asked if it was okay to go down to watch the Under-18s and share some knowledge. Shane Eccles (Academy head coach) has been really good; I’ve taken a focus on the defensive side of things. I’m trying to balance rugby and coaching. I’m going in to train at 8am and by the time I’ve finished with the Under-18s it’s 7pm at night, so they’re long days but I enjoy it.
“I did my coaching badges before I came to Wigan. I did level one, two and three, going into a junior school first, then working with teenagers and then moving into open age. It’s tough, but when you’re passionate and want them to get better it’s pretty easy. Lockers (Sean O’Loughlin) and I go down and help out as much as we can.”
Clubb has been impressed with the Under-18s and he understands they just want to get better and learn, so he is happy to pass on his wisdom.
He added: “The younger lads want to learn and want to get better. I want to pass on my 15-years of experience to these lads, who will hopefully make their debut in the next year or two. They know what they want to do.
“It’s good to share and pass on what I’ve learnt. I just give them tiny little tips of how to be better and I’m trying to make them the best they can be. It’s nothing they don’t already know, it’s just tiny adjustments to their wrestling and tackling, and then they soak that up, go out and do it and it’s rewarding to see it.”
Clubb is not intending to become a head coach any time soon, but he sees himself as an assistant when he hangs his boots up.
“Working with the Academy is quite rewarding,” he said.
“I went to watch them against Leeds two weeks ago and Harry Rushton was the man of the match. I’ve done a few bits with Harry; so to see him get picked (for Wigan’s 21-man squad vs Salford) was nice for me personally.
“I shout a lot during training, perhaps a bit too much. It’s how I like to train, but I know I need to tone it down. It was hard at first because you speak to them as first teamers, but you have to realise some of them are very young still, so you need to man-manage a bit more. And it’s definitely something I’m going to work on going forward working with the Under-18s.”