FORMER St Helens Mick Potter, who has worked in Super League for the last seven seasons, has landed his first position as head coach in the NRL after being appointed as the successor to Tim Sheens at Wests Tigers.
The 49-year-old Potter worked unpaid for the last three months of his two-year contract at the Bradford Bulls and rejected the chance to continue in the role under new ownership in order to find a job back in Australia.
Today his gamble paid off when he was unveiled as the new Tigers boss on a two-year contract.
Wests Tigers chief executive Stephen Humphreys said: “We are thrilled to secure Mick’s services for the next couple of seasons.
“Mick has enjoyed considerable success in Europe and we have no doubt that he is ready for the challenge that the NRL will present.
“We see him as the perfect person for the role. He has demonstrated his qualities as a coach in a range of differing circumstances over the last seven years.
“He will bring not only this experience but importantly, also a fresh pair of eyes and a new energy to our club.”
Potter takes over from Sheens, the Australia national coach whose 10-year tenure with the Tigers came to an end last month when he was relieved of his coaching duties with two years left on his contract after the side failed to make the 2012 play-offs.
The former St George captain and full-back is thought to have beaten ex-Huddersfield boss Nathan Brown, Manly assistant Matt Parish, who was briefly in charge of Salford in 2011, and his successor at Catalan Dragons Kevin Walters, to the post.
Potter served his apprenticeship with four years as St George Illawarra’s Premier League coach under Brown before joining Catalan Dragons for their first season in Super League in 2006.
He steered the Dragons to the 2007 Challenge Cup final and a third-place finish in Super League in 2008, when he was named Super League coach of the year.
He then moved to St Helens, where he took them to the 2009 and 2010 Grand Finals, before joining Bradford two years ago.
The Bulls failed to reach the play-offs in either of his two seasons at Odsal but they would have made it this year but for a points deduction and his efforts were enough to earn the Super League coach of the year title for an unprecedented second time.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity,” he said. “This role will be a big challenge for me but it’s one that I will approach with lots of confidence and enthusiasm.”