90 WITH NIUY
Matthew Elliott is an Australian professional rugby league football coach and former player. He is the current head coach of the USA Tomahawks national rugby league team and has coached Australian National Rugby League clubs Canberra Raiders and Penrith Panthers as well as Super League club, Bradford Bulls. Hailing from North Queensland, Matt originally played for the Eastern Suburbs Roosters before moving to the St. George Dragons playing in the 1991 and 1992 Grand Final against the Brisbane Broncos. It was at the Dragons in the early 90's that we were team mates and close friends, so it was fun to catch up with Matty after he guided the Tomahawks to our first ever Rugby League World Cup for 90 with Niuy
Injury cut Matty's playing career short and he became an assistant coach to Brian Smith at the Dragons. He then followed Smith to the Bradford Bulls in 1996, before taking over as head coach. He won the Super League title in his first season. In 1997 and 1999 he was named the Super League coach of the Year. After serving as assistant to Canberra Raiders coach Mal Meninga during the 2001 NRL season, Matt was made coach for the 2002 premiership. During his tenure at the Raiders, Canberra won 59 and drew one of their 125 games, including four finals appearances in five seasons. His most successful coaching season was 2003, when the Raiders won 16 of 24 games but were eliminated from the finals without winning a game. On 19 February 2006, it was announced that Matt would coach the Penrith Panthers from 2007 onwards, having signed a three-year deal. He succeeded John Lang in this position. After a promising start to the 2009 season, Matty's contract was extended to the end of the 2011 season. On 25 April 2011, he was informed by the Penrith board that his services would not be required beyond 2011. He vowed to continue at the helm for the rest of the season at the time, then on the 20 June announced his resignation with immediate effect. The next month we met in Hawaii and crafted a plan to prepare the Tomahawks for the Rugby League World Cup Qualifiers this past October where the USA team beat South Africa and Jamaica by 40 - 4 in both games.
After leaving the Panthers Matt took on a role in the media with Fox Sports and is also a highly sought after motivational speaker and author of a number of books. He will serve as the assistant coach to the Sydney Roosters in 2012 and 2013.
Having led the USA Tomahawks to the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, everyone involved with the American National Rugby League look forward to Matty helping to guide the Tomahawks over the next two years in preparation for a highly successful campaign at the World Cup.
Check out my chat with Matty at 90 with Niuy