The South Sydney Rabbitohs have made three full-time additions to their coaching staff for the 2016 season.
Former Rabbitohs player and experienced coach David Penna will take the reins of the Rabbitohs’ under 20s side as well as assisting with the first grade squad.
Penna, who played 56 first grade games for South Sydney between 1994 and 1997, will bring a wealth of coaching experience to the team, having been part of the senior coaching staff at the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles for the past ten seasons.
Penna will assist the first grade team working under Head Coach Michael Maguire and current NRL Assistant Coaches Kurt Wrigley and Wayne Collins. Penna will work alongside North Sydney Bears NSW Cup Coach Ben Gardiner who also assists with first grade preparations.
The Rabbitohs will have a new Head Strength and Conditioning Coach with Harry Harris re-joining the Rabbitohs for the new season, working in the High Performance Team with High Performance Manager Troy Thomson and Physiotherapist Eddie Farah.
Harris, who was part of the Rabbitohs’ coaching staff from 2002 to 2006 as the Club’s Rehabilitation Coach, will join the Rabbitohs after nine years as Strength and Conditioning Coach at the Bulldogs.
Harris takes over the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach role from Sean Edwards, who is leaving the Rabbitohs to live interstate after four years as part of Michael Maguire’s coaching department.
The Rabbitohs have bolstered their recruitment team with Ben Rogers joining the Club as Recruitment Co-ordinator, working alongside current Recruitment Manager Grant Jones.
Rogers brings with him a wealth of experience in recruitment and development, having worked most recently with the AFL in western Sydney, and having worked in Rugby League with the Wests Tigers, Parramatta Eels, Western Sydney Academy, ARL Development and St Gregory’s College Campbelltown over the past 18 years.
Matt King, the Club’s Development Coach who also assists at the first grade level, will take on the added responsibility of coaching South Sydney’s under 18’s SG Ball Cup side in 2016, a team that won its way through to the NSWRL under 18s Grand Final in 2015. Alongside King is the current South Sydney under 16s Harold Matthews Cup coach, Jason Peterson.
Former Rabbitohs players Ben Lowe and Scott Geddes have also joined the coaching department on a part-time basis, working across all grades from the NRL squad to the under 16s team.
Rabbitohs Head Coach Michael Maguire is looking forward to working alongside his new-look coaching staff in 2016.
“We’re excited about a new start in 2016, using what we’ve learned over the past few seasons and building that into the 2016 season which is just around the corner,” Coach Maguire said.
“Dave has been part of a successful Club’s coaching set up for a decade and his experience at Manly will bring new ideas and help build the support around our playing group.
“Dave was keen to continue his association with Rugby League now having finished up at Manly, and he will be responsible for helping develop the next wave of players coming through our Club at the under 20s level, as well as assisting with the NRL squad’s preparations.
“The fact that he played with Souths previously means he knows how special it is to be a Rabbitoh and we look forward to him helping to instil that in the players.
“Harry is regarded as one of the best in his field amongst the High Performance fraternity in Australian sport, and his previous affiliation with the Club means he will join us with the South Sydney spirit already ingrained in him.
“He will ensure our players are fully prepared for the season ahead, working alongside our other high performance staff in Troy Thomson, Eddie Farah, Michael Macri and Scott Johnson, along with Leigh Richardson who is our Football Analyst.
“Ben will add to our recruitment efforts, both from our junior ranks and further afield, so we look forward to seeing the fruits of his and Grant’s labour in the seasons to come.
“Being able to give former players such as Matt, Ben and Scott opportunities to work with the Club is also very fulfilling, and they will be able to pass on to any new recruits what it means to be part of the Rabbitohs.
“We’re looking forward to kicking things off for the 2016 season.”