Group 4: Andrew Loveday will coach the Manilla Tigers in 2018

IN CHARGE: Andrew Loveday will make his presence felt off the field in 2018 as he coaches the Manilla Tigers. Photo: Gareth Gardner
IN CHARGE: Andrew Loveday will make his presence felt off the field in 2018 as he coaches the Manilla Tigers. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Andrew Loveday may not be able to make a difference on the field for Manilla next season but his presence will be felt off it as he takes over the coaching reins in 2018.

A fractured scaphoid saw Loveday miss the second half of the 2017 Group 4 Second Division season and the injury still hinders the veteran.

“It still hurts when I get into a push up position so there was no chance for me playing at all,” Loveday said.

A desire to stay involved with rugby league beyond his playing days drew him towards the coaching position vacated by Mitch Doring.

Loveday has also captain-coached at Manilla before so it seemed a logical fit but it wasn’t something the new coach had planned for.

“I never really thought of it [coaching] until they asked,” Loveday said.

“I’ve been around for a while now. I have a bit of knowledge of the game and hopefully I can teach a few of the younger fellas a few things.”

While Doring won’t be coaching next season, the playmaker – who scored 31 tries this season for Manilla –hasn’t been lost to the club.

“I had a chat with him before I put my hand up [to coach] and he was keen on staying around,” Loveday said.

Loveday thought Doring could potentially take his game to another level in 2018 with more of a focus on his own game.

“I’ve been there before. Trying to captain a team and coach a team is pretty full on,” Loveday said.

“I’m hoping he can go out there, play his own game and play what’s in front of him.”

Doring’s job in 2017 was made tougher as the Tigers lost a string of players to long term injuries.

Loveday was hopeful a couple of those players would make returns in 2018.

“Young Nick Martin broke his ankle last year. He’s going to come to pre-season and see how it goes,” Loveday said.

“Abel Carney had a bad back and couldn’t play last year – hopefully we get him back.

“All the other guys I’ve spoken to are keen on coming back. It’d be good to keep them all together.”

Manilla president Jennene Beale said the club was delighted to have Loveday at the helm as well as Josh Spillett who will coach league tag.