After establishing themselves as a regular presence in the Auckland first division once again, Richmond are aiming to become a contender in 2019.
This week we chat with new head coach Junior Fiu to get his thoughts ahead of the new season kicking off.
Junior, you’ve been involved in the Warriors system for the last couple of years, but not as a head coach, what’s behind the decision to take on the top job at Richmond?
I was with the Warriors’ Intrust Super Premiership squad last year and didn’t get re-signed, so I saw this as an opportunity to put my name in the hat for the Richmond job. I see it as a way of giving back.
How much has that experience with the Warriors, in a professional environment, changed you as a coach?
You change a lot over time anyway, and not just through coaching, but through me being in the Police for 20 odd years as well. You bring all that life experience into being coach. I have definitely learned a lot from being at the Warriors, and I hope to bring some of those skills to the club.
Do you leave the Warriors with any regrets then?
I really enjoyed my time there and have some got some really good mates there. When I was there I came to realise that it is a business, it’s a professional outfit. That can be cut throat, but you learn from those experiences, good and bad. I am grateful for what I learned there, and now I want to pass it down to the grassroots.
You coached St Paul’s College previously and have a deep connection with central Auckland, so how pleasing is it to be able to resume your head coaching journey at Richmond, as opposed to another Auckland club?
I was born and bred in Grey Lynn and so naturally I want to give back to Richmond. I had a couple of years at the club before I shot off to Glenora, but that was way back when the Warriors weren’t around. I am showing my age here!
In terms of coaching mentors, who have you looked up to and borrowed from over the years?
I am lucky top have had some really good coaches along the way. Ken Laban, John Ackland, Brian McClennan and even Roy Chan, who has since passed away.
You take bits and pieces from different coaches who have different strengths. You mix it all together and find out what works for you. Those guys are not only good coaches, but good people as well.