Laurie Daley is returning to coaching this week for the Festival of Indigenous Rugby League but he has no intentions of stepping back into a permanent role just yet.
Daley will guide the First Nation Goannas in their clash with the New Zealand Maori at Redfern Oval on Saturday in his first coaching gig since the NSWRL opted not to renew his Blues contract after last year’s State of Origin series loss.
The Canberra Raiders legend said he was not looking for any other coaching roles on the representative scene or at NRL level.
“Not at the moment. This is a job I really love because you get back in the community, you give back to a lot of people and you learn a lot more about our culture and I think that’s really important and for me to reconnect every year and to share and listen to other people’s stories is fantastic,” Daley said.
Daley was amongst the crowd at the opening of the Festival of Indigenous Rugby League at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence which featured both the men’s and women’s Indigenous and Maori teams.
The former NSW coach said his team would train hard for Saturday’s match at Redfern Oval but would also use the week to embrace the focus on their Indigenous culture.
“The focus will be on, when we’re training we train well and when we are away from training learn as much as you possibly can about our culture and about each other,” he said.
“It’s great for our players to reconnect with the community, learn more about their culture and interact with the community.
“For me they get to connect with each other, connect with our culture and our heritage and learn a lot more about it.
“To learn about the New Zealand Maori culture as well, I think that’s important. We are the oldest living culture in the world and they are the youngest living culture in the world so there is always something learn from other people as well.”
With the All Stars game not taking place this year due to the short turnaround from last year’s World Cup, a bunch of unseen talent will be on display this weekend.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for those guys because they have all been in and around junior representative systems or New South Wales and Queensland Cup systems,” Daley said.
“It’s a great opportunity for them to come and represent their mob and represent the Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people.
“The guys will get a great opportunity to showcase their skills in front of a big crowd at Redfern Oval, so we are really looking forward to that.”
Tickets to the Festival of Indigenous Rugby League matches are on sale at nrl.com/tickets.