Sam Citizen was provided his expert rugby league launching by Steve McNamara as a 17-year-old. On Saturday, 18 years later on, he organizes a group in a competitive video game for the very first time versus his old head coach.
Citizen and McNamara’s relationship stayed close even after the forward had actually left Bradford Bulls for South Sydney Rabbitohs, interacting as captain and coach of the England nationwide group. Now, they will lock horns in Perpignan as Citizen’ Warrington Wolves deal with Catalans Dragons in the groups’ Betfred Super League season opener.
Those early days of his profession playing under McNamara at the Bulls are still fond memories for Citizen at the age of 35, although there will be no time at all for fond memories at Stade Gilbert Brutus. He will, nevertheless, be taking advantage of a few of that as he starts now being the individual in charge.
” It was truly pleasurable – Steve enabled me to play easily,” Citizen stated. “I think I have actually taken that into all my gamers to reveal themselves within the structure we have actually put in location.
” Steve and I were close, not just as coach and gamer however off the field too.
” He’s had an incredible profession as a gamer and a coach and there are definitely things you need to appreciate because. It’ll be organization next week.”
Citizen might barely have actually requested a much harder start for his very first head training function than in 2015’s Super League Grand Final runners-up away in the south of France, especially having actually organized a Wolves group which has actually stopped working to measure up to its own and external expectations recently.
There is little doubt of the skill in the team, which has actually been enhanced with finalizings such as prominent NRL hires Zane Musgrove and Lachlan Fitzgibbon plus Wigan Warriors hooker Sam Powell and already-included joint-Man of Steel preferred George Williams.
A go back to sharpening fundamental abilities and a concentrate on being more powerful in defence are amongst the techniques Citizen has actually embraced considering that taking charge for the start of pre-season, although he confesses he has still yet to completely unwind why Warrington have actually consistently disappointed that evasive very first Super League title in spite of apparently have much of the foundation in location.
” I’m still working it out,” Citizen stated. “You can’t do it over night; it takes some time and you have actually got to get a specific level of buy-in.
” I’m not disrespecting the group or what has actually been done before under previous coaches, however they have actually not had much success for the previous couple of years so something requires to alter.
” I do not understand what that is yet, however I have actually generated what I believe will assist and we have actually had a great pre-season, however the evidence will remain in the pudding when we begin playing the video games over a specific amount of time.”
I’m not disrespecting the group or what has actually been done before under previous coaches, however they have actually not had much success for the previous couple of years so something requires to alter.
Citizen was designated as Daryl Powell’s irreversible follower in a blaze of promotion last August, having actually invested the previous 3 years working as an assistant coach at Souths and having a spell in charge of New South Wales nation group Orara Valley Axemen.
Together With McNamara he has actually worked under coaches such as Michael Maguire, who he won the 2014 NRL Grand Final under, and Wayne Bennett in addition to another with a strong league background in Mike Ford throughout his brief time playing rugby union, and he is utilizing those experiences together with elements of his playing days in this function.
” That’s 3 years of training experience with all various levels of obligation, and you most likely discover a lot in those 3 years,” Citizen stated.
” As a gamer, I constantly took an eager interest in group characteristics, so I was constantly included with a great deal of off-field decision-making.
” I have actually got a couple of individuals on speed dial I’m most likely irritating at the minute and I’m truly enjoying my own knowing experience. I’m gaining from the gamers, from things above me and the side of me, and all over, so I’m enjoying it.”
A 16-8 defeat to competitors St Helens in the removal play-off in 2015 was an enhancement on the 2022 project when the Wolves completed a frustrating 11th, with just relegated Toulouse Olympique listed below them.
A 28-12 loss to in 2015’s Betfred Obstacle Cup winners Leigh Leopards in Joe Philbin’s testimonial match recently might not indicate excessive when the Super League season gets under method, however Citizen is honest enough to yield he is not anticipating over night success at Warrington.
” I’m not stating I’ll get it right,” Citizen stated. “There will be bumps in my roadway, do not get me incorrect.
” Is it going to be ideal? No. Will we strike the ground running? I do not understand. I still believe we’ll be growing as a group as the season unfolds.
” I do not believe we’ll be the completed short article or anywhere near it at the start of the year, I’ll simply more than happy with steady enhancement which’s what we’ll seek.”
View the Sam Citizen age get under method for Warrington Wolves in their very first video game of the brand-new Betfred Super League season away to Catalans Dragons reside on Sky Sports on February 17 (5.30 pm kick-off time). Likewise stream on NOW.