Eels fans will remember his time as a player and as an Eels captain and now, Nathan Cayless will embark on a new journey at the Eels, his first as a coach of the Eels.
He does have some coaching experience – albeit at a younger age – when he coached the Wentworthville U7’s side in 2001 and despite not harbouring coaching ambitions initially, Cayless admits it is now something he looks forward to.
“Yeah, very excited,” said Cayless.
“It’s my first coaching appointment here at the Eels but I did coach the Wentworthville U7’s in 2001, so it’s been a long time between drinks.
“To be honest, it’s something that when I finished playing, I wouldn’t really get into as I wanted to get as far away from footy as I could.”
After being retired for 3 years, though, Cayless admits that the fire in his belly has resurfaced and he decided to take the next step in regards to coaching.
“Being out now for three years, it is something I’ve had a bit of an interest in and after talking to my wife [Erin], she said why don’t you have a go?” said Cayless.
“After having a chat with the football department, this is a bit of a way to dip my toe in the water and see if I like it.
“I could really enjoy it or I could really hate it, so we’ll see how it goes. I’m really looking forward to it and I’ve done a few little things here and there so far and I’ve really enjoyed it.”
With the Eels junior stocks blessed to have some tremendously talented kids coming through the ranks, Cayless is looking forward to not only working with them, but also to seeing them play and how they develop.
“It’s a good opportunity to get to know some of the kids coming through our ranks, and we certainly have many talented players,” said Cayless.
“Last week, we just finished our trials and we trialled 1000 kids for our SG Ball, so it’s amazing the amount of talent that’s out there,” said Cayless.
With his first foray into the coaching world, Cayless will now have a direct involvement in the sort of players that are right for the club moving forward and the ones that have the highest chance of progression.
“It’s all about their development,” said Cayless.
“These kids are 17 or 18 and it’s when you look at them and try to work out when they’re ready to play in the NRL.
“It’s always good to see the results but at the end of the day, it’s about the NRL team. It’s about trying to fast-track or trying to get as much improvement as possible out of these young kids to say that in 2-3 years time we can say, “Ok, these kids are going to be the core of our NRL side.”
Cayless will work alongside head coach Mark Mahoney and fellow assistant coach Michael Withers.