Former Melbourne Storm premiership-winner and ex-Knights lower grade coach Todd Lowrie has been appointed Wests Rosellas coach for the next two seasons.
Lowrie's appointment yesterday followed confirmation former Knights coach Rick Stone had knocked back the role with the Newcastle premiers to continue to pursue the possibility of landing an NRL assistant's job.
Lowrie finalised the deal with Wests Group boss Phil Gardner and said he is excited about the prospect of getting back into coaching after having a year off.
"Yeah, I'm really looking forward to it,"Lowrie told the Newcastle Herald.
"I'm excited about getting back into coaching, particularly at a club like Wests. I got a call last week about the job and things got fast-tracked a bit from what I can gather after Stoney pulled out.
"Phil and I sat down today and worked out a deal and we spoke about a bit of a change in policy going forward. They want me to be a bit more of a development-type coach and cut down on the number of players we bring in.
"It will still be a good roster but obviously Wests have got a strong junior base and there is going to be a strong emphasis on local players and their development."
The Rosellas made all four men's grandfinals this year, winning the first and reserve grade titles but lost premiership-winning coach Matt Lantry to Maitland.
In a major shake-up, Rosellas stars Pat Mata'utia, Chad O'Donnell and the Langbridge brothers Alex and Daniel, have all followed Lantry to the Pickers. Wests veterans Mark Taufua and Brad Tighe have also retired.
Lowrie, who had considerable success coaching the Knights Under 20's squad for three seasons before controversially parting company with the club before the 2019 season after being initially offered his choice of two coaching roles, will waste no time in getting started in the new job.
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"Todd is a wonderful young man and along with Rick, they were easily the two most credentialed people for the job," Gardner said. "The club has a history of bringing in new talent but with a reduced salary cap for next season, we'll be concentrating on giving our own young players a pathway."