While the Sydney Roosters and St Helens Saints prepare to do battle for the 2020 World Club Challenge, a certain staff member will be eagerly awaiting the meeting between two clubs that he loves.
Daniel Anderson, The Club's Junior Recruitment and Academy Manager, was the head coach at St Helens where he held the reigns for four successful seasons from 2005 until 2008.
Anderson's coaching resume is undeniably impressive, from his stint with the New Zealand Warriors from 2001-2004 that included a Grand Final appearance against the Roosters in 2002, to coaching the Parramatta Eels squad that mustered one of the most impressive comeback seasons in NRL history in 2009.
The most successful stint of his coaching career though was with St Helens, where Anderson holds nothing but positive and successful memories.
“I still have many fond memories of St Helens to this day," Anderson said when discussing his time with the club.
“The footy was great, I had a fantastic squad and still hear from some of those guys every now and then.
“We were very successful and lucky enough to win everything there was.
“The Challenge Cup, Grand Final, Minor Premiership and World Club Challenge.
“We had a cracking squad, and I have nothing but wonderful memories from that time.”
The enjoyment of his time goes deeper than football though, which was evident when he brought up the in-between moments from his time in St Helens.
He was blessed with a superb football team, but it was about more than football when recalling his time in the 'tough old town'.
“I loved living there, because it was a tough old town.
“It was a coal mining, glass making, rugby league town that had no more coal mining or glass making.
“Our home stadium had a lot of character and we didn't lose too many games while we were there too.
“It was an awesome and down to earth place.
“My family loved it, the kids were happy there and we were walking distance from the stadium so I used to walk to our games.
“I still haven’t been able to acquire the red cabbage and Lancashire pie that they used to do.
“Not that anyone would call that a delicacy, but it was a staple of that area,” he recalled with a grin from ear to ear.
Having coached in both the NRL and the Super League, Anderson noted that there was a key difference between the two competitions at the time.
He noted that during his time at St Helens, the Super League was attracting world class imports to the 12 team competition.
“The Super League was a tough and tight competition, and because of the exchange rates we were getting top quality imports from the Southern Hemisphere and New Zealand.
“In my first year there I had Jamie Lyon, Jason Cayless, Chris Flannery.
“Matt Gidley came in to replace Jamie (Lyon) when he went back to the NRL, we just had a wonderful squad.
“It was a really tasty competition.”
It would be understandable for Anderson to struggle to choose a team to barrack for on the night of the 2020 World Club Challenge, but he showed no hesitation in where his priorities are.
“First and foremost, I’m a Roosters man.
“I expect us to want to win the game and I know how seriously we're taking it.
“Everyone loves to win big games that has something attached to it, and that’s why the two best clubs of 2019 are going to go at it.
“I’ll enjoy watching it and I enjoy that connection, but I’ll be barracking for the Roosters.”
“First and foremost, I’m a Roosters manDaniel Anderson
It will mark a special occasion when the two teams face each other again at Totally Wicked Stadium on February 22nd for their fourth meeting.
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