Jamie Soward has revealed how conversations with Anthony Griffin about tactics while the pair worked together at 2BG radio proved the catalyst for Griffin to hire him as St George Illawarra’s kicking coach for 2021.
Soward will reunite with his former Penrith coach in a consultancy role, working with the club’s halves and rising players on game management.
The 2010 premiership-winning Dragons playmaker will focus on kicking, both in general play and conversations.
Soward’s relationship with Griffin has improved since 2016 when they fell out at Penrith after the veteran coach didn’t re-sign him in his final season.
The pair have since mended bridges while working together in the media, especially during their time at 2GB.
“Talking to Hook about each game for half an hour on a Saturday night – that was probably the catalyst for this job,” Soward said.
“We’d sit down and talk about players, styles, what goes into games.
“I’d pick his brain on certain players in the NRL and how you would approach that and he would ask about some of the players that I’ve seen coming through the Canterbury Cup while working for Channel 9.
“I guess it has been a long conversation in the making and I’m happy Anthony has got the Dragons job, and now the hard work starts.”
Jamie Soward will reunite with former Penrith coach Anthony Griffin at St George Illawarra after Griffin hired Soward as the club’s kicking coach. Picture: Tim Hunter.Source:News Corp Australia
Griffin feels Soward’s proven record as a game manager can help ignite the Dragons’ current halves pairing, Ben Hunt and Corey Norman.
Hunt and Norman have struggled to produce their best and a specialist coach could help them improve.
Soward played 140 NRL games for the Dragons between 2007 and 2013 while he remains the club‘s leading pointscorer with 977 points from 39 tries, 398 goals and 25 field goals.
The retired halfback has added to his skills post-football with various roles in the media, including an analyst at NRL.com alongside fellow Dragons assistant and ex-Penrith coach Matt Elliott.
Soward is looking forward to working with Norman and Hunt on the finer skills in their game.
“Part of my job will be to understand how Corey sees the game at five-eighth,” he said.
“His running game is certainly his strength and he is very talented as well.
“Hopefully Matty Elliott’s game plan around getting Corey involved can get the best out of him.
“Ben is also such a great runner of the footy and we are going to need that if we are going to get back into the top eight.
“I’ll play a small part. This is Hook’s team and Matty Elliott’s attack, so for me if I can listen to those two guys and learn what they know about the game, then put some stuff on with my kicking and weaknesses in other teams.
“One thing I know about Hook is that he is going to have everyone super fit and competing and that is going to be the important thing.”
Soward plans to juggle his Dragons consultancy role with his media commitments at 2GB, NRL.com and Channel 9.
“I won’t change anything that I do in the media,” he said.
“One thing I’ve really enjoyed is being able to just watch the game and look at how teams play.
“The small part that I’ll play at the Dragons won’t affect me. If there are games that don’t go the right way, then I have to call it how I see it.”
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