Michael Burgess

Michael Burgess is the football and rugby league writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Jones back to guide Warriors' halves

Elliott was heavily involved in getting Stacey Jones on board. Photo / File
Elliott was heavily involved in getting Stacey Jones on board. Photo / File

The 'Little General' is back at the Warriors, this time as one of Matt Elliott's key lieutenants.

Stacey Jones, the most decorated player in the Auckland club's history, is returning, this time in a full-time coaching and recruitment role.

One of his principal roles will be as halves coach, not just for the first grade squad but teams across the club. He will also be club development coach and will be heavily involved in the new Auckland schoolboy 1st XIII competition, a joint venture between the Auckland Rugby League and the Warriors.

"We couldn't be happier having someone of Stacey's standing returning to the club," said Warriors general manager football operations Dean Bell.

"Following on from Ruben Wiki's appointment a week ago, Stacey is also keen to pursue his future as a coach and this is an ideal opportunity for him to develop.

"Besides key responsibilities in recruitment and coaching in our development system, having our halves throughout the club mentored by one of the game's greatest halfbacks is hugely exciting."

Elliott was heavily involved in getting the 36-year-old Jones on board and it is a smart move. Jones adds impetus to the Warriors' brains trust and additional local flavour to the coaching staff, balanced alongside Elliott and Andrew McFadden. He also appeals as mentor for Shaun Johnson, who struggled with the demands of the playmaking role last season.

Jones had a club record 12 seasons as a player at Mt Smart (1995-2005 and 2009) plus another as part-time kicking coach in 2008. Over the past three seasons, he has been involved in a coaching capacity with the Point Chevalier Pirates and also employed as the ARL's football development officer.

"To now have a full-time job like this back at the Warriors is perfect," said Jones.

"There are so many good things going on with the club at the moment.

"I can't wait to be involved again with the new football staff and the new direction."

Bell said Jones would take over as development coach from Willie Swann, who becomes Junior Warriors assistant coach alongside John Ackland. Jones will also manage the club's pathways for all players.

"This is an area of the role which Matt places special value on in terms of his vision for the club," said Bell.

"It will see Stacey having the responsibility of ensuring all our young players progress to the different levels of the game at the appropriate stage of their development."


Stacey Jones

NRL career: 261 games* (1995-2005, 2009)

NRL points: 674* (77 tries, 176 goals, 14 field goals)

Test career: 46 tests (1995-2006)

Test points: 160 (16 tries, 47 goals, 2 field goals).

* Club records

- Herald on Sunday

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