New head coach is Rockhampton man who is proud of Pride
ROCKHAMPTON'S Joe O'Callaghan has been appointed head coach of the Northern Pride.
The 30-year-old says he wants to build on the successful culture that saw the Cairns-based rugby league club score its historic double this year, winning the Queensland Instrust Super Cup and the NRL State Championship.
O'Callaghan, who joined the Pride as assistant coach ahead of the 2013 season, replaces Jason Demetriou who has been appointed assistant coach of the North Queensland Cowboys.
He said he was thrilled to score the top job but knew there would be added pressure given the club's incredible success in 2014.
"Jason had an 80% win record so there will be pressure associated with that," O'Callaghan said.
"I am lucky in that I was part of that successful culture that he was building and part of those structures. I know what worked well and what didn't.
"It would be stupid of me to be robotic and copy JD, but at the same time I am not about to make wholesale changes.
"It's about finding the right balance, identifying the things that worked well and putting my own stamp on them to keep the success going."
O'Callaghan said despite losing a handful of players to the National Rugby League, the Pride would still have the nucleus of its squad heading into 2015.
"I'm happy with the guys we're bringing in and I'm confident we'll again have a finals-bound squad.
"We will have a big target on our heads in 2015 and it is my job to make sure we are prepared for that."
O'Callaghan, who has signed a two-year contract with the Pride, said he knew from an early age that coaching was what he wanted to do.
"I have made no secret of my aspirations to work at some level in the NRL and I see this as the next logical step," he said.