The Tasman Mako haven’t had to look far for their 2019 coaching team. The departure of head coach Leon MacDonald following the Mako’s 2018 Mitre 10 Cup campaign meant a reshuffle was required at the top of the Tasman coaching tree. Fortunately, the right men for the job were close at hand.
BY PETER JONES [Marlborough App]
Andrew Goodman, Shane Christie & Clarke Dermody
Next season the Mako head coaching role will be shared by Andrew Goodman (36) and Clarke Dermody (38), both assistant coaches to MacDonald this year.
Goodman is an assistant coach at the Crusaders while Dermody has been the set piece coach at the Highlanders since 2014. The co-coaches will continue their Super Rugby roles before joining forces in the top of the south for the 2019 Mako campaign.
They will be assisted by Shane Christie who, like Goodman, was a previous Mako captain and also part of MacDonald’s coaching team this season. Christie will have responsibility for the forwards.
Gray Cornelius, with cap on, will be the fourth member of the Mako coaching team.
The only newcomer to the four-strong coaching team has completed a long and successful apprenticeship on the local scene. Gray Cornelius, a former Red Devils player, has coached the Marlborough Boys’ College First XV since 2009, guiding them to Press Cup victory in 2013.
He also helped coach the Red Devils and this season took over the head coaching role with Tasman B, taking them to an unbeaten record. Cornelius will become Mako skills coach, a position previously held by Goodman. He will be based in Marlborough and run the wider training group and Academy skills programme. He and Christie will guide the Mako through their pre-season provincial matches early next year.
Tasman Rugby Union CEO Tony Lewis said the appointments underlined the talent available in the region.
"It clearly shows that if you have got the ability there is a pathway from the local club rugby structure to the Mako.
"We believe [Gray] has the skill set required when we are looking at replacing Leon – he’ll do a good job.”
The rationale behind the appointment of co-coaches was plain, suggested Lewis. "They will be looking after backs and forwards separately anyway and have had a year of working together already. There is a strong desire from them to become head coaches but the idea of being a co-coach and spreading the workload was appealing to them both … they are comfortable with it and we think it will work.
"Something that came through clearly from our season review was a desire to keep the  coaching group together. In Andrew, Clarke and Shane we have got three of the best young coaches going around this season. They have had great mentors in Leon and, in some instances, Kieran Keane as well … we are privileged to have them.”
Long-term manager Martyn Vercoe will also be back in 2019, the NZ under-20 manager reappointed for two more years today.