Storm’s Ryles draws on rugby union connections

Melissa Woods |

Jason Ryles is making the most of his rugby connections as he restarts life at the Storm.
Jason Ryles is making the most of his rugby connections as he restarts life at the Storm.

Chalking up his World Cup stint under Wallabies coach Eddie Jones as a valuable learning experience, Jason Ryles has continued to draw on rugby on his return to the Melbourne Storm.

All Blacks coaching great Sir Wayne Smith recently addressed the Storm at pre-season training, while current New Zealand Test coach Scott Robertson has also checked in with the NRL club.

Ryles has returned to the Storm as their coaching co-ordinator after a year with the Sydney Roosters and a cameo as attack coach with the Wallabies at their ill-fated World Cup last year in France.

While there’s no official succession plan, he appears to be in the box seat when Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy decides to call it a day.

Jones, who has since left Australia to take over Japan’s national side, was heavily criticised for his disappointing second spell in charge – but Ryles had only praise for the veteran coach.

“I still talk to Eddie now and I’ve got a really good relationship with him,” Ryles told AAP.

“When we were in camp he was as intense as ever but he would do everything he could to help players get the most out of themselves and help the team.

“We didn’t get the results we were after, but his actual on-the-ground coaching – it’s world class.

“It was kind of a hit-and-run mission for me but I got to learn a heap with my coaching.”

Smith has had a long relationship with the Storm through his ties to football director Frank Ponissi.

Having recently rejoined the All Blacks as their performance coach to work alongside Robertson, Smith addressed the Melbourne players about leadership, which is overseen by Ryles.

Melbourne last week announced hooker Harry Grant as their new captain, replacing Christian Welch.

“We did an informal session, where we set the tone for our leadership and he spoke about some of the better leaders that he’s worked with, and what he looks for in leaders and leadership groups,” Ryles explained. 

“Richie McCaw was one of the players who stood out for him so he used a fair few examples of his leadership. 

“But he made it really clear that everyone has their own style and it’s important that you’re as authentic as you can be.

“If there’s a top three coaches in the world he’s in it, and he loves league so it’s such a good resource to have his experience and his knowledge.”

AAP