Corey Parker has “a burning desire” to coach in the NRL and his apprenticeship is already ramping up at the Broncos where he hopes to realise that dream.
Parker, who played 347 career NRL games for Brisbane, has a multi-faceted coaching role at Red Hill.
“I’m looking after the ruck, the play-the-ball and the wrestle and it is a job that I have thoroughly enjoyed,” Parker told NRL.com.
“I have played for the Broncos for 16 years so to be involved in a coaching capacity is really nice and brings me a lot of satisfaction.
“I love where I am at in terms of my media work [with Fox Sports], and still having some influence within the club, but that burning desire is to be an NRL coach. In years to come hopefully that transition will flow.”
On the paddock, Parker was always a tireless performer. Wayne Bennett could trust him to execute his role each week, and that mindset hasn’t changed in his transition to coaching.
“In the role I’m in, Wayne has left me alone, and I’m very grateful for it,” he said.
“He has put his trust in what I have got and what I am doing.
“Between myself and [defensive coach] Jason Demetriou we have been able to do our own thing, which has been really nice.
“Coaching is about trying to get the best out of the people you’ve got. The hardest thing is how you do that. Is it with your training techniques? Is it with communication? It is probably a balance of everything.”
Parker noted some key changes in the Broncos’ 2018 squad, in particular the presence of a number of massive forwards.
“There has been a lot of change in the club, they identified that it needed to change,” he said.
“The club has brought Kevvie [Walters] back…and there is a whole new mix of young forwards and some big bodies like Payne Haas, David Fifita and Matt Lodge.
“Tevita Pangai is still there, and Joe Ofahengaue who had another breakout season after his first one [in 2015].
“The Broncos of the last few years have been known to a mobile pack in terms of being a bit smaller, but there is certainly some size there at the moment.”
While questions remain surrounding the halves pairing of Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima, Parker said there was “a lot to like about the side”.
“Jack Bird is a huge talent and inclusion, he can do anything in the game and I’m excited to see how he goes once he recovers from his injury,” he said.
“The same goes with the development of Kodi (Nikorima), who has been given the number seven jersey.
“Taking ownership of the team is very important and from what I have seen so far he can certainly make that his own.”