HE’S served his apprenticeship – now club veteran Seru Rogo is ready to take charge of the Griffith Blacks for next season.
Rogo will coach the Southern Inland Rugby Union side in 2014, succeeding Lee Kimball, who has stepped back into a part-time assistant position due to work commitments.
It is part of a planned progression for Rogo, who juggled first-grade playing duties this year with his role as a backline coach for the Blacks under Kimball.
Rogo, who said he was “honoured” to have been appointed as the club’s new number one, will be supported by a strong coaching staff that includes Kimball, Andrew Scott, Darryl Prince, Don Don and Willie DeMeyer.
“They’re a great bunch of boys, and very talented rugby players,” Rogo said.
“It was really good to be under Lee and Darryl last year, just learning from them and getting really good experiences.
“Hopefully I can take it over to this year and we can build on it.”
Rogo, who spent several years playing first-grade rugby in Sydney, believes Griffith is ready to take the next step after a disappointing end to the season.
The Blacks finished in the top half of the competition after the mid-year split but did not win a final, losing to Temora in their Romano’s Cup preliminary final.
“We never fielded the same team two weeks in a row,” Rogo said.
“We were relying on some players but they had commitments, some were coming from rugby league, a lot were injured and it was hard.
“When we did turn up to play we had a really good go and we beat a couple of big teams.
“We’ve just got to get some little things right in our preparation and we will be okay.”
Blacks president Clint Robertson said the club was delighted to have been able to promote from within.
“There’s a lot of young talented kids here in Griffith who will be of great benefit to have someone like Seru guiding them,” he said.
“(SIRU manager) Mick McTaggart still says to me he’s never seen a five-eighth with his kind of vision in all the 10 years he’s been down here. He was amazed at his talent.”
Rogo said “90 per cent” of this year’s playing roster will be back next season, but one who won’t is forward Michael Vitucci, who will spend 2014 in the US.
That makes front-row reinforcements a necessity, with the club likely to search Sydney and abroad for new blood.
“They are big shoes to fill, but the club is looking to get that sorted before we get to the new year,” Rogo said.
In the other grades, Prince will coach the Blacks’ seconds alongside new assistant Dave Anderson, from Wagga.
DeMeyer, Kimball and Don will be the team managers.
Anderson will also look after the third grade side, backed up by Carl Chirgwin as manager, while Andre Boon will head the under 17s program.
A coach is yet to be named for Griffith’s women’s rugby sevens team, which went through their inaugural season undefeated only to fall to Leeton in the grand final.
The Blacks will hold a meeting tomorrow at the Coro Club to map out plans for the pre-season and beyond.
Coaches and managers will meet from 2pm and players are expected at the club by 4pm.