Canterbury Bulldogs chief executive Andrew Hill has revealed how the club managed to recruit former All Blacks coach Sir Steve Hansen – and how unlikely he thought it was.
Hansen was announced as a high performance consultant for the Bulldogs after the club finished with the wooden spoon in the 2020 NRL season, and Hill disclosed that he thought recruiting Hansen was unlikely.
Hill told SEN radio that he asked incoming coach Trent Barrett to put forward some ideas for experienced coaches to help as consultants, but thought his first suggestion – Hansen – was unrealistic.
"He came back about 24 hours later and said 'Hilly what do you think about Steve Hansen?' and I said 'yeah perfect, that's the type of bloke we want but let me know who you think we can get and I'll work on it'," Hill told SEN.
"He said 'well do you want his home or his mobile number?'
"I thought it was a joke but clearly it wasn't."
Hill then spent some time figuring out how to sell Hansen on the opportunity – and also how to overcome his nerves to recruit the legendary rugby coach.
"I sat down for a day or two trying to build up the right introduction from myself to him, I wasn't sure whether to call him Sir Steve or Mr Hansen. But when I called he said 'well Andrew I was expecting you to call a couple of days ago. I'm in, I want to help'."
Hill told SEN that the World Cup-winning coach is already making an impact in providing insights in the NRL.
"He's already joined the team via Zoom on a couple of occasions already. Obviously, with Covid we haven't been able to get him here face-to-face but I tell you what when he speaks there's not a word heard other than his own," Hill said.
"Already the impact and the aura he is bringing... I'm really excited by the influence that he and Trent and other staff (are bringing)."
The Bulldogs kick off their NRL season on March 12 against the Newcastle Knights.