Category: Coach Chat

Mat Head Chats to QRL

QRL article written by Rikki-Lee Arnold (Statewide Content Producer). Available on QRL website. 

In this edition we talk to Wynnum Manly coach Mat Head about the changes the Seagulls are going through and his focus on helping players progress to the next level.

Coaching history

Former St George Illawarra playmaker Head began his coaching career in 2010, following his retirement from the NRL. He was the captain and coach of the Dapto Canaries while also offering specialist kicking coaching at the Dragons.

In 2011, he took up a similar kicking role at the Cronulla Sharks for two seasons before becoming the Balmain Tigers SG Ball head coach in 2013, winning the national final that year. He remained there until 2016, when he became coach of the Dragons’ under 20s. After one year in that role, he was then named NSW Cup head coach for the Dragons.

In 2021, he was appointed as the Dragons’ pathways coach and NRLW coach. He started to assemble the squad for his inaugural year in the NRLW, but the season was postponed due to COVID-19 and Head was named assistant coach of the NRL team about 12 weeks into the 2021 season. He remained in that role into 2022 and never had the opportunity to coach the NRLW team.

In 2023, he will take over the reins at Wynnum Manly, in what will be his first coaching job in Queensland.

Q&A with Mat Head
How did it feel to get the Wynnum Manly head coach job?

Cup in Queensland is something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s as close to NRL coaching as possible, I believe. You run your own club and look after your own juniors. It’s exciting to come to this competition. NSW Cup is the same level but it’s run a lot differently. So for me, this is the next step in my progression, to come to a club like Wynnum Manly. It’s a successful club and I can learn from working with CEOs, boards, junior programs, and my own team.

What is your coaching philosophy?

I’m a players’ coach. I like to work out what their strengths are and coach to that and then hopefully help the other side of their game. My biggest point of view is helping the player get to the next level, whether that’s Cup level to NRL or NRL to Origin. I’m really determined to help the individual be a better footballer which I believe helps your team anyway.

Who would you say is your mentor or strongest influence in coaching?

I’ve been lucky to be coached by very good coaches. I still have a very strong relationship with Nathan Brown who gave me my debut jersey. I got coached by Peter Sharp, I spent one year under Wayne Bennett, worked with Steve Price … I was at Cronulla when Shane Flanagan was there and the Dragons with Paul McGregor, Ben Hornby and Dean Young. I’ve been lucky with my development but if I had a mentor, Browny would certainly be that. Others I bounce ideas off would be Ben and Dean. Obviously I’m lucky with Jon Buchanan here too (as pathways manager). To walk into a club that’s gone through a lot of changes, JB has been very, very influential. I have a good network at the moment.

Mat Head oversees training at the Seagulls
What were your first impressions of the club?

From the outside, everyone speaks highly of Wynnum Manly, how successful they are and the backing of the Leagues club, the community and those things. My first impressions have been that everything is going in a good direction. It needed some new ideas which (CEO) Wayne Weekes, myself and JB have been able to bring. The board has been very supportive in everything we wanted to do. The roster has changed drastically from the past and it’s been a good change. It’s going in a direction we’d like it to. The boys are working really hard and they want to be coached. They are really working on understanding and wanting to know why we do things. I’ve really enjoyed that side of it. We have a real learning group, which shows in our age range. Our oldest player is 27. We have a playing group that want to progress their careers and I’m really enjoying that.

What are your goals for season 2023?

The end goal is you want to win a competition. We want to be top four. All those things. But the biggest thing I want is to progress players to the next level and that’s through all our grades. That’s the end goal that our club wants to strive to be. If you’re doing that, you’ll be successful on the footy field. We want to develop a club that progresses and produces better footballers.

Who within your squad will make their mark in 2023?

Shalom O’Ofou is someone I’ve signed at the club and he is in at the Broncos doing a train-and-trial. He’s one that people who watch Cup won’t know much about but he could play NRL. COVID-19 had affected his development but he’ll be good for the competition and exciting for our club. He has NRL written all over him.

Shalom O’Ofou plays for the Broncos against the Seagulls. Photo: D&T Photography

Mat Head Excited By Broncos Clash

New BMD Wynnum Manly Seagulls coach Mat Head is excited by the prospect of facing the Brisbane Broncos on Saturday 4 February.

Stacked with NRL-quality talent, the Broncos present a tough first game in charge of the Seagulls for Head, but he is not phased by the challenge.

“We’d like to think we’re on the road to success, we’ve changed a few things to suit our style coming in as new coaches. The players are really buying into our culture here at the club.

We’re a new group and we’re trying to set our own standards. We need some footy games to be able to do that. We’ve worked really hard over the last seven or eight weeks and the players are buzzing for a game of footy.

The Broncos game is really exciting, I’ve never come across this type of trial before with a (Hostplus) Cup team playing an NRL team so it is personally exciting for me as well as the players.

I know the club see this as a really high-quality game each year, and I know our community will get out and support us.

We’re just super excited by the challenge of it.”

When quizzed about what he wants to get out of this trial match, Head said:

“The big thing for us is to get our combinations going and see how we play. We’re going to be up for it. We’ll put as good a team as we can out there.

If we put a good hit-out together, it puts us in good stead for the start for the Hostplus Cup season. That’s what we’re about here.”

To see our boys take on the Broncos, get your tickets on our website. Don’t miss out, because we’ll sell out!


Barton’s Coach Chat – The Showdown

We caught up with Seagulls Head Coach Adam Brideson at training this week to chat about the Falcons win and preparation for The Showdown against Norths Devils.

Brido spoke about the team’s defensive efforts against the Falcons after a number of weeks off, playing multiple utility players in the fast modern game, and what is required to take on the league leading Devils.

Check out the full interview below, thanks to Barton’s Motor Group.

Bartons Coach Chat: Country Week

In this week’s Bartons Coach Chat, we caught up with Adam Brideson to debrief the end to end thriller against the Dolphins. Brideson also spoke about how important Country Week is to the team and the league as the boys prepare to head west and take on the Burleigh Bears in Round 14.

Check out the full video below!

Coach Chat: Preparing to honour Mitch

Seagulls TV caught up with Head Coach Adam Brideson thanks to Bartons Motor Group. Brideson was pleased with the effort levels of the whole team in Round 9, beating a talented Mackay squad. As the club prepares to honour former captain Mitch Cronin, Brideson also spoke about what this game means for the squad and their preparation this week.

The Mitch Cronin Memorial Match kicks off Sunday the 13th of June at 2.10pm at BMD Kougari Oval. The tribute to Mitch will begin at 1.40pm after the conclusion of the Hastings Deering Colts game (starting at 11.45am).

Coach Chat: Gulls return home in Round 9

Thanks to Bartons Motor Group, our proud Coach Sponsor, we caught up with Adam Brideson at training this week.

Watch the full chat with Brideson below, where he debriefs the last two Gulls games and previews the upcoming clash against the Cutters.

The Seagulls take on Mackay this Saturday June 5th. Colts kick off at 12.45pm, with the Intrust Super Cup match starting at 3pm.