Te Awamutu name Joe Gifford as men’s head coach for new season

Waikato club Te Awamutu have appointed Joe Gifford as their men’s first team coach ahead of next season’s Lotto NRFL Southern Conference campaign.

Gifford (32) takes over from Ian Springfield, having been an assistant coach to Stringfellow last season.

Gifford has previously held coaching roles at Waipa rivals Cambridge and at Claudelands Rovers.

“When asked if I would return, it didn’t take me long to reply; it was a no-brainer for me,” Gifford told the club’s social media followers.

“To be able to take on the role after the man himself, Ian Stringfellow, is an honour. It was a career development working alongside him last season.”

Main photo: Joe Gifford … to be head coach in 2024.

Simon Whale will be Gifford’s assistant coach and Hayley Roil will be team manager.

Gifford said the 2023 season was “interesting” and one he considered a “learning curve.”

Te Awamutu finished the season bottom of the newly-created Southern Conference.

“Any role in this club allows me to work with great people and a talented group of players, but the head role is one I can impart some of my learnings to create an amazing TA style of football,” Gifford said.

“I am aiming to build on the culture that Te Awamutu has prided itself on, with players returning and conversations with those who find the club appealing.

“We have already have pre-season fixtures locked in and I am looking forward to getting going. Things won’t happen overnight, but I am confident in the steps the club is taking and that it’s moving in the right direction. We have the ingredients to create something special in 2024.”

How last season ended

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