Matt Shirvington, pictured training with the Waratahs,
will give the Dragons sprinting tips.
Matt Shirvington in fast lane for Dragons
BY TIM BARROW AND PETER FITZGERALD
12 Aug, 2011
St George Illawarra coach-in-waiting Steve Price has jumped quickly out of the blocks in pursuit of a competitive edge next year, recruiting former Australian sprint coach Matt Shirvington.
Shirvington will join the Dragons in November to oversee their preseason speed and acceleration program.
Since retiring from international athletics, the 32-year-old has worked with Super Rugby franchise the NSW Waratahs, as well as the Sydney Swans.
It was as a result of his work with the Waratahs earlier this year that Shirvington was recommended to Dragons physiotherapist Andrew Gray.
Gray, who also works with the NSW Origin team, approached Shirvington during Origin III camp in late June about possibly linking with the Dragons.
Shirvington will work with the club initially on a 12-week deal before reviewing his role at the beginning of the 2012 NRL season.
The hiring of Shirvington will ensure the Dragons are among the quickest and fittest squads in the NRL next year, having already secured Wests Tigers assistant coach Steve Folkes as Price's assistant.
Shirvington accepted his role would be challenging, especially in the post Wayne Bennett-era at the Dragons, but backed himself to succeed.
"Sure, it will be a slightly different year for the club, having Wayne away, but fundamentally as footballers they're amazing athletes and any chance I get to work with elite-level sportsmen is great," Shirvington told the Mercury last night.
"I'm going to have my work cut out. I know the structure of their training and conditions have been very well planned and thought out so I'm going to have to work hard to have an impact, but I know I can.
"I have a unique outlook and insight into developing speed and the fundamentals of power. League is a game of inches so if you can put yourself in a position a little faster than your opposition - in both defence and attack - you can stabilise yourself and give yourself more time to have a greater impact."
Shirvington announced his arrival on the international stage with a career-best 10.03sec fourth in the 100m at the 1998 Commonwealth Games.
He was Australian 100m champion from 1998 to 2002.
Since retiring, Shirvington has been living in London, taking on coaching roles with talented young sprinters and also becoming a television personality.
He has been hired to boost the athletic performance of developing Dragons players like Kyle Stanley and Bronx Goodwin, as well as established stars including Brett Morris.
The announcement comes just a week after the club purchased a number of high-tech training apparatus, including an Alter-G treadmill, designed to take the weight loads off the players.