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Griffin earns promotion as NRL assistant coach

Slade Griffin has been promoted to assistant coach on the One New Zealand Warriors’ NRL football staff for the 2024 season while the experienced David Tangata-Toa has been signed to replace Griffin as the club’s New South Wales Cup coach.

The 32-year-old Griffin replaces departed Justin Morgan to team up with incumbent assistants Stacey Jones and Richard Agar for Dally M Coach of the Year Andrew Webster’s second campaign as head coach.

Griffin’s elevation is reward for an impressive first year as New South Wales Cup coach when he guided the side to a third-place finish in the regular season before falling just one win short of making the grand final.

Incoming New South Wales Cup coach Tangata-Toa has an extensive coaching record including roles with Penrith, North Queensland and Canterbury Bankstown as well as Mate Ma’a Tonga.

“Our commitment as a club is to develop and promote coaches and players from within our system and Slade’s appointment is the perfect example of that,” said One New Zealand Warriors general manager recruitment, pathways and development Andrew McFadden.

“He’s an outstanding young coach who has made a huge impression since arriving at the club four years ago.

“He did a terrific job with our New South Wales Cup side this year and has worked hard to earn this opportunity.

“In David we have a coach with vast experience at all levels. He’s a perfect fit to come in to take the reins with our reserve grade side.”

Webster said he is excited about Griffin’s promotion while his relationship with Tangata-Toa dates back to the days when he was an assistant coach and Tanagata-Toa was a player at Hull Kingston Rovers.

“Slade has made a huge impression on me with his ability to develop our local talent, transition our NRL players back to Cup and find a way to win in the process. It’s a great feeling to promote from within our structure,” said Webster.

“David joins our NRL coaching team where he’ll be our New South Wales Cup coach.

“He has had huge success at developing talent at a number of clubs and has been a part of Tonga’s climb on the world stage as an assistant coach.”

West Coast-raised Griffin was appointed as Sky Sport Future Warriors coach in late 2019 and was due to guide the club’s NRLW side in 2020 only for border issues to force a late change. He joined the NRL coaching staff as a transition coach for the 2021 season before being appointed to coach the New South Wales Cup side in the club’s return to the competition this season.

The One New Zealand Warriors reached the preliminary final with a 49-6 trouncing of the Canberra Raiders only to be pipped 28-24 by North Sydney.

After playing for St George Illawarra and Cronulla Sutherland in the lower grades Tangata-Toa moved to England where he signed with Hull Kingston Rovers when Morgan was head coach and Webster assistant coach. He had a stint with the Celtic Crusaders before returning to Australia where he started his coaching career with the Windsor Wolves in 2011.

Apart from club positions he has been a long-term assistant coach with Tonga including its rise into an international force at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

Born January 17, 1991
Birthplace Glen Innes, New South Wales
Coaching career Sky Sport Future Warriors coach 2019-2020
One New Zealand Warriors NRL transition coach 2021-2022
One New Zealand Warriors New South Wales Cup coach 2023
Playing career:  
Position Hooker
Junior club Cobden-Kohinoor Keas (West Coast, NZ)
NRL clubs Melbourne 2013-2017
Newcastle 2018
NRL career 41 appearances 2013-2018
Melbourne 25 appearances 2013-2017
Newcastle 16 appearances 2018
NRL points 8 (2 tries)
Representative 1 Test for Kiwis (2018)


Born July 15, 1981
Birthplace Gold Coast, Queensland
Coaching career Windsor Wolves Bundaberg Cup captain-coach 2011
Windsor Wolves New South Wales Cup assistant coach 2012
Penrith Panthers under-20 assistant coach and head coach 2013
Penrith Panthers New South Wales Cup assistant coach 2014-2016
Penrith Panthers under-20 head coach 2017
Townsville Blackhawks under-20 head coach 2018
North Queensland Cowboys NRL assistant coach 2019-2020
Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs New South Wales Cup head coach and NRL assistant coach 2021-2023
Mate Ma’a Tonga assistant coach
Playing career:  
Position Prop
Junior club Burleigh Bears (Gold Coast, Qld)
Super League clubs Hull Kingston Rovers 2005-2007
Celtic Crusaders 2008-2009


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