Alan Kilshaw may not be a name that many rugby league fans in the UK are aware of yet, but the Englishman has enjoyed some significant success coaching Down Under over the last year.
The former England Under-16 assistant coach has been guiding the the Sarina Crocodiles to success in the Mackay & District competition.
The club in the past has produced players of the calibre of Wendell Sailor and Dale Shearer, but Kilshaw has just steered them to their first minor premiership since 2000.
“We’ve gone really well winning 14 from 16 games in the regular season,” Kilshaw said.
“It’s been the most successful year here in 15 seasons, [but] we’re not getting carried away.
“We will enjoy it for a few days because it’s an important milestone. But we will then re-focus on the finals and make sure we make the grand final.”
He has been with Sarina for the last three seasons, and had to work hard to turn things round in his early days at the club.
“When I joined in 2013 I didn’t realise the enormity of the task, there was a really poor culture at the club and they had finished second bottom in consecutive seasons,” he added.
“We have totally rebuilt the club on and off the field. We haven’t got a massive leagues club or huge budget like other sides in our comp but we have a rich history of players and are a one-town team.
“The club had lost its identity a little bit, with the bulk of the side local juniors we have improved season on season 2013 and 2014 finishing fifth and fourth.
“What’s equally pleasing is the reserve grade are leading their comp and the Under-18s will also make the finals meaning the club will compete in the finals at all grades for the first time in 20 seasons.”
Despite his success, Kilshaw is set to return to the UK at the end of the current campaign, despite having an option to stay with the Crocodiles for another year.
“I have an option to stay another season at Sarina but it’s unlikely I will take that offer up, it’s time to move on so I can further develop,” he said.
“I’m currently looking at the best opportunities both sides of the world, we have been here for three years and with a young child my wife’s getting homesick and missing her friends, and she has sacrificed a lot for me so it’s only fair we do what is best for all of us.”