He is a veteran of the game in more ways than one and a new challenge awaits John Ackland, with the former Junior Warriors coach to take up the role of CEO of Auckland League.
Officially starting in the new role tomorrow, it was less than four months ago that Ackland led the New Zealand Warriors Holden Cup side to a grand final.
Having also worked as an assistant coach for the Warriors at one stage, Ackland admits that getting accustomed to the administrative side of things will be a challenge but it is one that he looks forward to.
“We’ve got to ensure the domestic game remains healthy, at all levels,” Ackland said.
“I think we can use Auckland Rugby League as the powerhouse to do a lot of good for the game over the whole country.
“In terms of Auckland, we’ve got some challenges in terms of our facilities. I think we have to make sure we get our fair share of facility improvement, in terms of the grounds our kids play on and lights they train under.”
Ackland was a player for Auckland back in the 1980’s and says the key for the club is to go back to their roots and embrace their rich history once again.
We’ve been around for 100 years and we’re a force on the Auckland sporting scene,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure we remain so. Auckland has proven itself time and time again to be a rugby league city.
“Today one of the first things I did in my office was try and dig out the photos of the Auckland teams that have beaten Australia in the past – and put them up on the wall.
“Auckland’s record against touring teams stands with any rugby league area in the world.”