Local junior turn Jersey Flegg Premiership Winning Coach, Luke Vella has been promoted to an assistant coach on the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs NRL football staff for the 2024 season.
The 29-year-old joins Chad Randall and incumbent assistant coach, Jason Taylor as part of a new-look coaching structure in Cameron Ciraldo's second year as Head Coach at Canterbury.
The appointment comes after an impressive year as the 2023 Jersey Flegg Cup Coach, where he guided an incredibly talented and dedicated squad to a Premiership win over the Sydney Roosters, and to the Club's first Jersey Flegg title in twenty years.
"There is none more familiar with Bulldogs' values in hard work and resilience as Luke," said General Manager of Football, Phil Gould.
He is an outstanding young coach who has made a huge impression since transitioning from a player in our development pathways to a coaching and development role. The result from the Jersey Flegg squad and the calibre of talent coming through is a testament to his coaching skill and he has worked hard to earn this opportunity. He has a very bright future in the game.
Vella was a member of the Club's Under 20 NYC squad in 2014 before a terrible spinal injury cut short his own NRL dreams. While he never had the opportunity to see his own NRL ambitions out, Vella is determined to give the next batch of Bulldogs every chance to make the most of the opportunity they have in front of them:
"I never got the chance to play for the Club at the top level so if I can help current players do it, I'm more than excited to do that," said Vella of his appointment.
"It's really, really special for me and a really big accomplishment for me and my coaching career. It's probably come a little sooner than I expected if I'm honest. But that doesn't mean I'm not ready for it. I'm excited to get involved."
Vella: Perspective is a big thing for me
In between his work with the Flegg squad, who were affectionately dubbed the 'future of the Bulldogs', Vella also coached students at Westfields Sports High to the National Championship title this year.
His impressive year culminated in the news of his promotion to NRL Assistant Coach to work closely with Cameron Ciraldo in 2024. At just 29 years old, he hopes to continue to learn from Ciraldo, while they challenge each other to mould better players:
"Being a young coach, people could look at that as an advantage or a disadvantage. I look at it as a big advantage. I worked with some of these players at SG Ball level seven years ago, so I have already built a relationship with them.
"There's a lot of players in the [NRL] squad who over the last two or three years, have come through our Jersey Flegg team too. So already having that relationship with the players will be handy. They know what I'm about, they trust what I am about and I think that will only help them progress even further. For me individually, I want to come into the NRL system and just try to make them better individuals."