Tony Clubb's sights on future coaching career

The coronavirus crisis has not just halted Tony Clubb’s season as a player – it has forced him to put his budding coaching career on hold, too.
Wigan prop Tony ClubbWigan prop Tony Clubb
Wigan prop Tony Clubb

He already had his coaching badges, up to level three, before joining Wigan from London in 2014.

And since then, he has become more involved with the junior players as he tries to lay a foundation for a move into the coaching ranks when he decides to hang up his boots.

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This year, the 32-year-old has been assisting academy coach Shane Eccles.

“I’ve been interested in coaching for a little while. I asked if it was okay to go down to watch the Under-18s and share some knowledge,” said the prop.

“Shane Eccles has been really good; I’ve taken a focus on the defensive side of things. I’m trying to balance rugby and coaching – I’m going into train at 8am and by the time I’ve finished with the Under-18s it’s 7pm at night, so they’re long days but I enjoy it.

“I did my coaching badges before I came to Wigan and it was always something, I was interested in. I went into a junior school first, then went onto teenagers, then into open age.

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“It’s tough but when you’re passionate and want them to get better it’s pretty easy. Me and Lockers (Sean O’Loughlin) go down and help out as much as we can.”

Clubb has a wealth of experience to tap into, having won a World Club Challenge and a Grand Final and even represented England earlier in his career.

But he is candid enough to admit he is still learning the ropes as a coach.

“I shout a lot during training – a bit too much,” he says.

“It’s how I like to train but I know I need to tone it down.

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“It was hard at first because you speak to them as first teamers, but you have to realise some of them are very young still, so you need to man-manage a bit more. And it’s definitely something I’m going to work on going forward working with the Under-18s.

“The younger lads want to learn and want to get better. I want to pass on my 15-years of experience to these lads, who will hopefully make their debut in the next year or two.

“They know what they want to do. It’s good to see. It’s good to share and pass on what I’ve learnt.

“I just give them tiny little tips of how to be better – I’m trying to make them the best they can be.

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“It’s nothing they don’t know, it’s just tiny adjustments to their wrestling and tackling – and then they soak that up, go out and do it and it’s rewarding to see that.

“It is quite rewarding. I went to watch them against Leeds two weeks ago and Harry Rushton by far was man of the match.

“It’s something for after I retire – maybe not as head coach but the defensive side of things is definitely something I want to look into – possibly as an assistant.”

And when Wigan do return to action, it will be something of a landmark for Clubb – his next match will be his 150th as a Wigan player.

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