Rabbitohs call on veteran coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rabbitohs call on veteran coach

By David Beniuk 18/09/2009 05:54:30 AM Comments (0)

John Lang is not South Sydney's messiah, whether or not Jason Taylor was a very naughty boy.

As Taylor and the Rabbitohs appeared headed for the courts after the coach was sacked by the NRL club on Thursday, it was veteran Lang who was left to pick up the pieces.

"I lost the messiah complex about 20 odd years ago, but I do know the business," Lang told a media conference on Thursday.

The former Cronulla and Penrith mentor, who took the Panthers to a premiership in 2003, will take the reins at Souths for the next two seasons after coming on board last year, first as a consultant then as football manager.

Lang last coached in 2006 after 13 straight years in the business.

The 58-year-old is also a long-time ally of Rabbitohs CEO Shane Richardson, the pair having worked together previously at both the Sharks and Panthers.

Lang said he decided he was interested in returning to the pressure-cooker of coaching when he was offered the job.

"I never decided I didn't want to be a coach again," he said.

"It's a very small industry ... there's not a lot of opportunities for anybody but I didn't have any great passion or was desperate to get back into coaching.

" ... I enjoyed the role of being closely associated without actually being the one who is under pressure.

"I don't plan too far ahead."

Lang said he felt for Taylor, who was sacked with a year to run on his contract after an altercation with second-rower David Fa'alogo at a pub.

"I certainly feel sorry for Jason and his family," Lang said.

"I don't feel good taking over in these circumstances but it's not too often you take over in happy circumstances."

The Rabbitohs missed the finals in the last two of Taylor's three years at the helm and Lang admitted he was in for a challenge.

"I'm under no illusions how difficult the job is and probably being close and watching other people do it, I probably didn't realise how much pressure they are (under)," he said.

" ... It's a tough job but I've done it for a long time and I've still got the enthusiasm, particularly for the game itself."

In a related development, assistant coach Mark Ellison, who was recently cut from the club in a move rumoured to have upset players, has returned as football manager.

An emotional Richardson made it clear how tough it had been terminating Taylor's deal, at one point almost appearing to reminisce about how he'd helped the young coach develop.

"This is not an easy decision, Jason and I have worked together for three years now," Richardson said.

"It's not a decision I've slept about for seven days and I'm sure Jason's in the same case.

" ... Jason's done a good job as a coach ... he's been a young coach, he's come through, we've had three years of development with him and working alongside him and trying to improve what's going on and working through press conferences and up until this incident he had my support."

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