Millward confirmed as North Qld coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Millward confirmed as North Qld coach

22/05/2008 05:35:10 PM Comments (0)

Interim coach Ian Millward drew on a highlight from his own career to confidently predict he would take the battling Cowboys to the NRL play-offs.

Millward immediately got on the front foot as North Queensland promoted him from assistant to head coach for the rest of the season in the wake of Graham Murray's resignation.

The 47-year-old has a major task to turn around the 15th-placed club in the next 16 rounds but showed he wasn't fazed by the challenge.

Millward felt the pressure on him paled in significance compared to his appointment as English giant St Helens' coach in 2000, replacing former Great Britain star Ellery Hanley.

"I don't want to be rude but when I went to St Helens, one of the biggest clubs in the UK, they had just sacked Ellery Hanley and we went on and won the Super League that year," he said.

"I think this is equal to it. I've been through it before and I've enjoyed the challenge and been successful doing it and I don't see any reason why it can't happen again."

Millward led St Helens to the Super League title again in 2002, as well as the prestigious Challenge Cup in 2001 and 2004, and the World Club Challenge in 2001 over Brisbane.

Nicknamed Basil, Millward began as Murray's assistant last year after two seasons with Wigan but will leave Townsville at the end of 2008 to link with David Furner at Canberra.

North Queensland once again denied there was any thought of a mid-season coach swap with Raiders coach Neil Henry to take the reins of the Cowboys.

"That was never a consideration," said Cowboys football manager Dean Lance. "Neil Henry is doing a great job in Canberra and he's committed there and Ian is committed for the rest of the year here."

With the Cowboys rated one of the premiership favourites at the start of the season, Millward put their failure down to poor defence and injuries, led by try-scoring fullback Matt Bowen's lingering knee problem.

He urged NQ fans to retain faith with the 2007 preliminary finalists and believed another play-off campaign was still achievable.

"There's no reason why we have to give up on that dream and there's no reason why we haven't got the capabilities of doing it," Millward said.

"Nothing has changed since the beginning of the year. We're very confident we can make the play-offs."

The Illawarra product said he admired the way close friend Murray handled the speculation surrounding his job at the club before quitting the post on Monday.

Cowboys chief executive Peter Parr backed Millward as the ideal man for the short-term role.

"We are only at round 11 so there is plenty of time to regather and put in a strong effort for the business end of the season," he said.

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