Onto his fourth club coaching role in five years, Steve Georgallis knows what to look for when faced with an unfamiliar playing group – and, having taken charge of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs for 2017, he likes what he sees.
Georgallis is getting used to being the new kid on the block, with jobs at the Wests Tigers, Sea Eagles and most recently the Panthers giving him valuable experience over the past five seasons. The 48-year-old knows all too well the challenges associated with being a fresh face in coaching.
“It’s just getting to know the players,” Georgallis tells NSWRL.com.au. “I think you get the best out of players when you know players and you know their backgrounds, what they’re capable of and what makes them tick. That’s the hardest thing at the start of a new club.
“I don’t know too many of the (Bulldogs) players at the moment, so I’m just trying to get to know them.”
With 11 games under his belt at NRL level – as a caretaker coach for the outgoing Matthew Elliott in 2011 – Georgallis was seen as an experienced fit for a restructured system at the Bulldogs this year.
With 2016 coach Andy Patmore moving into a newly-created Pathways Performance Manager role, Georgallis is looking forward to working with head coach Des Hasler.
“I’ve never worked with Des – he’s very knowledgeable on the game and certain ways he does things,” Georgallis says. “It’s just about adapting to that. I’ve basically been with him two days a week, watching what he does with first grade and trying to bring that down to the Intrust Super Premiership NSW so there’s continuity.”
Upon his arrival at Belmore, Georgallis was presented with one of the youngest sides in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW this year; while the blue-and-whites will be led by 32-year-old captain Ray Moujalli, seven of the side’s nominated 13-man squad (to appear in the 2017 NSWRL Media Guide) are yet to turn 21.
The challenge of youth, however, is one which the former Panthers mentor has encountered before.
“It’s quite a young squad, which is similar to what I had at Penrith last year,” Georgallis adds. “Sometimes it takes a little while for them to gel and get the combinations going, but from what I’ve seen so far they seem pretty well up to the standard.
“I think it will be a good year.”
With many of the team’s likely mainstays taking part in the NRL Auckland Nines last weekend, it will quickly become apparent the talent which Georgallis will have at his disposal.
The Bulldogs will face 2016 minor premiers Mounties at Aubrey Keech Reserve in Georgallis’ first assignment at his new club.