It goes without saying that being a head coach is a tough gig. Just ask one.
Suzuki Brisbane Tigers coach Jon Buchanan (JB) sat down with QRL’s Colleen Edwards ahead of Sunday’s clash with the Jets — his 200th as a Hostplus Cup head coach.
He said back when he started his coaching journey in 1997, he never thought he would still be here 25-years later.
“All I’ve ever known is rugby league since I was a 5-year old.
“I just started coaching because I wanted to give something back and thought I would enjoy it.
The 49-year-old has enjoyed success throughout his tenure with three clubs as well as facing his own challenges.
“I don’t think you can do this job for this long unless you embrace each week.
“I’ve been fortunate to coach at three different clubs but three really good footy clubs.
JB has been the Head Coach of Brisbane Tigers (2021-22), Souths Logan Magpies (2017-20) and Wynnum Manly Seagulls (2013-16).
“I’ve got real fond memories at each club.
When asked of his favourite players he has coached, he conceded that it wasn’t going to be an easy task.
“I’ve worked with some really good characters. If I think of Wynnum, I think of the Peter Gubb’s. I just laugh thinking of the stuff with Gubby.
“Jakey Granville. I’ve known Jake since he was 17-years old. I bought him down from Rocky.
“To then coach him as a Colt and then in first grade. To see him win a premiership with the Cowboys. Those things there, you enjoy seeing.
“Souths I got the opportunity to coach Phil Dennis late in his career. He’s the most capped player in this competition. Probably one of the best defenders. Skilful. Tough.
“We’ve got a few characters here too at Easts.
“The Jack Svensden’s of the world challenge you most training sessions. Always whinging about something.
“The Darius Farmer’s. He’s a different fish, but he’s someone I’ve got a lot of time for.
“Even the guys that come back from Melbourne are really good here as well. I like working with the Jordy Grant’s, the Jayden Nikorima’s. They keep you on your toes as well.
“George Fai is another one. I’ve known George since he was 15-years old. We’ve butted heads a lot. I’ve challenged him, he’s challenged me. I enjoy working with him. He always comes in with a smile on his face.
A coaching career which involved many representative camps and games, he recalls one of his favourite moments.
“I remember coaching him (Josh Papalii) in 2010 in the Under 18 Origin side. A lot of people have probably seen the photo floating around where he’s split above the eye, below his eye”, he added.
I couldn’t get him off the field that night, he was just so passionate playing for Queensland as an 18-year old.
JB’s well decorated coaching career included:
2008 – 2009 Queensland Origin Under 16s Coach
2009 – 2014 Queensland Academy of Sports Rugby League Under 15s & Under 16s Coach
2010 Queensland Origin Under 18s Coach
2013 – 2016 Wynnum Manly Seagulls Hostplus Cup Head Coach
2016 Queensland Origin Under 20s Assistant Coach
2017 – 2019 Queensland Residents Coach
2017 – 2020 Souths Logan Magpies Hostplus Cup Head Coach
2021 – 2022 Suzuki Brisbane Tigers Hostplus Cup Head Coach
JB will step away from head coaching in the Hostplus Cup at seasons end but is hopeful to finish on a high.
The full interview will be released via qrl.com.au.