by Steph Allen
RUGBY LEAGUE: The Capras are bringing in some new blood to the CQ team's staff with new Assistant Coach David Faiumu and High Performance Manager Leesa Pearce on for next season.
The name Faiumu may second familiar to NRL fans, as the player turned assistant coach comes from a stellar 240 game career with the Canberra Raiders, North Queensland Cowboys and the Huddersfield Giants.
Faiumu also played for the CQ team - then known as the Comets - in 2003 and after five years playing for the Cowboys, signed on for Huddersfield for a six-year contract before retiring from the game as the team's development officer.
With an extensive coaching experience also under his belt from his stints as a Development Manager and Acting General Manager in Wellington New Zealand, Faiumu is touted as part of a new dream-team of Super Cup level staff set to bring the Capras to the big time.
His plans to move back to Rockhampton with his partner, a Rocky local, coincided well with Under 20s coach Paul Bremley moving on to a Gold Coast position after failed negotiations.
With Damien Seabolt and Neil Beckett then taking over his position in a co-coaching set up, the position of Assistant Coach was up for grabs and Faiumu fit the bill.
"David has now moved over and started up with us two weeks ago and has already been a fantastic inclusion through our staff and his knowledge is exceptional and his temperament and the way he handles himself is also exceptional,” coach Kim Williams said.
"I've got a pretty strong Polynesian contingent amongst the playing group as well and I see him as a real role model for that group of young guys coming in through the playing ranks.
"He ticks a lot of boxes for us and has already added a lot to our training.”
As for what Faiumu has in store for the team, his focus will be not only be on defensive work with the forwards and the "technical and tactical” aspects of the game, but also on welfare, wellness and conditioning.
"Man management stuff... it's a big part of our game,” he said.
"You've got 34 blokes coming from 34 different backgrounds, races, religions, the way they operate.”
Despite being "absolutely interested” in one day becoming a head coach in the NRL, he is pacing himself and learning as much as he can from other coaches like Williams along the way.
"I'm happy to learn as well as share my own experiences with the boys coming through,” he said of his football career.
But when it comes to Central Queensland players, Faiumu said that what stands out against the other teams is the CQ "toughness, just raw talent just kind of untapped”.
"Some of them have been down to Sydney and some great clubs in Melbourne and up north with the Cowboys so we've got a vast variance in different abilities here,” he said.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge... [I'm] just trying to learn each individual's qualities that they bring to the team and work with those qualities... I can just see raw talent that could be nurtured into something great.”
With funding from the QRL and NRL, the team has created the position of High Performance Manager for Pearce, whose "set of skills is so wide and her experience so great that she has a really broad knowledge of a lot of areas that are extremely important” to the club.
Showing up mid-last year during her PhD in Talent Development specific to Rugby League, the JCU graduate has had plenty of hands-on experience dealing with medical needs, rehab, recovery, strength and conditioning with the North Queensland Cowboys.
According to Williams, Faiumu and Pearce are "some of our best signings without a doubt for this season for 2018”.