West Wales Raiders have appointed the former Melbourne Storm high performance manager Kim Williams as their new head coach starting from the 2019 season.
Williams has built a strong reputation in Australia and is recognised as being one the best head coaches outside of the NRL, according to the Raiders. Born in Shellharbour in New South Wales, he began as a development officer in 1998 in Adelaide. He then had seven years as the development manager for the Western Australia Rugby League in Perth.
He joined the Storm in 2009 and was responsible for the management of the Victorian Rugby League representative programmes as well as the Melbourne Storm Academy, who he coached to the NRL Under 18 Grand Final in his first season where they lost out to Canterbury Bulldogs.
He moved to the Queensland Cup – the second best rugby league competition in Australia – in 2013, when he replaced former South Wales Scorpions coach Anthony Seibold to take charge of Mackay Cutters, leading them to finish top of the league table and to win the Grand Final in his first season. He remained there until the end of the 2015 season.
He has spent the last three years as head coach of another Queensland Cup side, the Rockhampton-based Central Queensland Capras, a feeder side to NRL club Brisbane Broncos.
Williams’ grandfather, Griffin Williams, was born in Swansea, emigrating to Australia with his family after he served in the Royal Navy in World War 2. This has given him extra incentive to coach West Wales Raiders, the Llanelli-based club being based less than an hour away from his family’s roots.
Williams said: “I want to help establish West Wales Raiders as the premier rugby league club in Wales by building the foundations for sustained success.
“I will be bringing a high level of professionalism and knowledge into the club to develop strong and clear pathways for our junior and local players, and I want to create a culture at the club that meets the expectation of our supporters and stakeholders.
“I am very proud of my Welsh heritage and see a great opportunity to help develop our great game in Wales. I’m impressed with the passion and professionalism shown by Andrew Thorne and the board of the Raiders and I’m excited to be a part of their plans moving forward.”