West Wales have appointed Queensland Cup winning coach Kim Williams as their new head coach from the start of next season.
Williams, whose grandfather Griffin was born in Swansea and emigrated to Australia after he had served in the Royal Navy in World War 2, has spent the last three years as head coach of Central Queensland Capras, a feeder side to the NRL’s Brisbane Broncos.
Williams said: “I want to help establish West Wales Raiders as the premier rugby league club in Wales by building the foundations for sustained success.
“I will be bringing a high level of professionalism and knowledge into the club to develop strong and clear pathways for our junior and local players, and I want to create a culture at the club that meets the expectation of our supporters and stakeholders.
“I am very proud of my Welsh heritage and see a great opportunity to help develop our great game in Wales. I’m impressed with the passion and professionalism shown by Andrew Thorne and the board of the Raiders and I’m excited to be a part of their plans moving forward.”
Williams is a career coach who began as a development officer in 1998 in Adelaide and was then with the Western Australia rugby league in Perth.
He joined Melbourne Storm as high performance manager in 2009 and was also coach of their academy.
In 2013, he replaced former South Wales coach Anthony Seibold to take charge of Mackay Cutters, leading them to the top of the table and a Grand Final victory.
Raiders’ director Andrew Thorne said: “The board and I are over the moon to have secured the full time services of a quality coach like Kim Williams.
“Over the past 12 months the club has been working hard to establish the grass roots and player pathways from juniors to under 19s all linking to the first team, and as a result we have taken a bit of a hammering both on the pitch and on social media for it.
“However we kept the course and now have a fantastic coach who will help develop the next phase of our strategy and that is to build a squad that the supporters and the sport can be proud of.
“Kim brings a wealth of experience and has coached at some of the most well-known clubs in Australia with the latest being Central Queensland Capras.
“I’m sure that Kim will have a completely different outlook on how the club can move forward and we are all excited to take things on.
“I know that the current player base are excited and are ready to turn things around both on and off the pitch.
“There are some exciting times in the club ahead and I’m looking forward to continuing to develop Rugby league in South Wales.”