Kaufusi back for another year

The Waves' coach Antonio Kaufusi runs through a training drill to his team last season. He will remain The Waves' coach for next season. Picture: SHANE JONES

By Shane Jones

For The Waves and Antonio Kaufusi, it was a no-brainer to continue their association in the Bundaberg Rugby League A-grade next season.

Now the goal is to bring premiership success back like in 2018.

Kaufusi has been confirmed as the A-grade coach for next season, which will be his seventh at the club.

He took over before the start of the 2016 season.

Since then, the team has made the finals in every season and made the grand final in 2016, 2018 and 2019, winning the premiership in 2018.

“He’s been wonderful for our club and he just teaches the boys so much,” The Waves president Ash Simpson told Bundaberg Today.

“He got the club champion this year, so he does much more than just coach at the club, he’s very much involved and loves the club.”

Kaufusi is the longest serving coach in the competition but his focus for next year won’t be just on the club.

It will also be on his roles with the North Queensland Cowboys as a coach and his work with Shalom College as a teacher and coach.

He will also be the coach of the Wide Bay Bulls under-18 team for next year’s Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup.

Simpson said the added roles wouldn’t impact him at The Waves and in fact, he applauded the former NRL star and Queensland Maroons representative for doing it.

“We encourage it and I love Antonio getting out and updating skills,” he said.

Simpson was also confident the team was better-placed next year after having to play plenty of rookies during last season due to injuries.

In a tough year, the team finished fifth and was eliminated in the finals by Hervey Bay.

Simpson hopes the tough times this year can lead to good times next year.

“We had nine rookies come through this year,” he said.

“I say we are always looking at premierships but we’re really looking at the way we are growing the club and the way we look after our players and how we bring the players through.

“If everyone is happy at the club, the club is doing well.

“That’s my main focus as president and premierships look after themselves.”

Simpson added the club would be looking for experienced players to help the rookies as they enter their second year.

Meanwhile in other Bundaberg Rugby League news, Past Brothers will keep its coach for the second straight year as Andrew Hamilton remains as coach.

He took to the side to its fourth grand final win in the past six seasons and will be aiming for three titles in a row next year after winning in 2019 and this year, with no competition last year.

Past Brothers president Mat Templeman confirmed to Bundaberg Today the news and added an announcement about other coaches was coming in the next few months.

For Eastern Suburbs and Western Suburbs, no news has come out yet about their plans for next year.