After winning a premiership together at the St George Illawarra Dragons in 2010, Wayne Bennett and former dummy-half Nathan Fien are back together at the NRL's newest club.
Fien was announced as Bennett's assistant in mid-October, recruited after experiencing regular success in the local Illawarra Rugby League competition, winning four premierships as a coach with both Thirroul and Collegians.
Despite that success, Fien hasn't been exposed to the pressures of NRL coaching, and he said Bennett's call came “out of the blue”.
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“I was pleasantly surprised, it's an opportunity to further my coaching career – and what an opportunity here at the Dolphins,” Fien told AAP.
“A lot of coaches get to (NRL) level their own way, but for me, staying at the local level with Thirroul and Collegians gave me an opportunity to run a squad, manage the day-to-day running of a club and be a mentor to the young guys.
“Wayne has seen something he thought I might be able to bring here and we have that good working relationship from years past.”
Bennett has publicly spoken on the need for Queensland-bred coaches to lead the Dolphins into the NRL, and Fien fits the bill being born in Mt Isa – the same town as fellow assistant and future Dolphins head coach Kristian Woolf.
Fien says he has based his own coaching methods on what he learned from Bennett – but it's the attitude and skill he developed during his 276 career NRL games that will prove more beneficial to the group.
“As a player I probably wasn't the most skilful guy, but when we got down and dirty and crossed that white line it was game on,” Fien said.
“I wanted to try and be that player every player wanted to play with. If I can get a bit of that into the Dolphins club and into our DNA then that will keep us in good stead, and competitive in a lot of matches.”