Experienced Riverina coach Troy Maiden will return to the top job at Wagga Tigers next season.
Nine years after last coaching Wagga Tigers, Maiden is back and will replace outgoing leader Shaun Campbell.
Maiden is pleased to be appointed the new Tigers coach.
“I’m excited and looking forward to it,” Maiden said.
“I’ve been out of club coaching for a little while but it will be good to get back into it.”
Maiden is no stranger to Robertson Oval.
He was assistant coach to Matt Walder in the 2007 premiership before taking on the senior role for 2008 and 2009.
He has maintained a close relationship with Tigers since and has been the junior club’s director of coaching for the past two years.
Maiden was Riverina League representative coach from 2010 to 2013 and a senior assistant coach at Corowa-Rutherglen in 2014-15.
He was a Giants Academy coach this season, while helping out Riverina League in representative football.
Maiden, who says he never lost the coaching ‘bug’, returns to Tigers at a time when they are looking to bounce back from an eighth-placed finish this season, where they only won two games.
Maiden is confident Tigers are not far from the mark.
“I suppose you look at it and they won a flag two years ago,” he said.
“For one reason or another a lot of players have moved on since then, for employment and that sort of thing.
“They’ve got a lot of good young guys, they have just missed some experience and size. If we can get a bit of that around the young kids, the side won’t be that far off being really competitive.
“Losing Shaun’s on-field presence is a gap we’re going to need to fill.”
Maiden wants to lead Tigers back to finals.
“We certainly want to be really competitive,” he said.
“At the end of the day we’re not going into the season not wanting to make the five, so that’s got to be our goal.”
Wagga Tigers president Anthony Lyons views Maiden as a long-term appointment.
“We see Pag as the person to take us forward with our young group and we feel we’re not that far away from success and sustained success,” Lyons said.
“Building on from what Shaun has built, we think Pag’s experience will be able to take us back to success...and the club certainly likes success.
“He’s a good fit for us.”
At this stage, Campbell and Lewis Gooden (university) are the only two departures at Tigers. They have already started the recruitment process and hope to be in a position to announce key recruits soon.