Frayssinous hails Waite impact
Laurent Frayssinous may be the youngest head coach in Super League but he has the oldest assistant to lean on.
Former Great Britain boss David Waite, 61, picked out Frayssinous as a future head coach of Catalan Dragons during his brief spell as caretaker-boss of the Perpignan club at the start of their Super League existence seven years ago.
So it is fitting that the veteran Australian is now back at Stade Gilbert Brutus to help the 35-year-old Frayssinous settle into his role as the Dragons’ first-ever French boss.
Yet it was only a simple text message, thanking him for all his early encouragement, that paved the way for Waite’s return to the south of France.
“It was because of David that I am where I am now,” Frayssinous explained at the launch of Super League XVIII in Manchester.
“He asked me to stop playing when I was 29 years old and said ’you will be the head coach of the Catalan Dragons one day’.
“I always wanted to be a coach so I listened to him. Life moves on and seven years later I was appointed so I sent him a text straight away to thank him.
“I said I was looking for a conditioner and assistant coach and he came back and said he could be an option.
“He said he would like to come back and work for the club because the Dragons are still in his heart.
“He wants one more time to help the club win trophies because that’s what the club hasn’t got at the moment. I know he will work hard for that. So we started talking about his eventual position.”
Waite, who gave Frayssinous his Super League debut in the Dragons’ famous win over Wigan Warriors in their opening fixture in 2006, appointed Mick Potter as the club’s first permanent head coach and urged the stand-off to hang up his boots to work under him midway through that first season.
Frayssinous stayed on after Potter left in 2008 to join St Helens and then worked under two more Australians, Kevin Walters and Trent Robinson, before finally being given his big chance last October.
The Frenchman, who played for his country in the 2000 World Cup, was assistant to head coach Bobbie Goulding in 2008 and believes he has served a comprehensive apprenticeship.
“I worked very hard for the last six years and learnt a lot from Trent, Kevin and Mick,” he said.
Frayssinous spent a week shadowing England head coach Steve McNamara during the autumn internationals and knows he could not have chosen a more experienced right-hand man than Waite.
The former Kangaroos winger coached successfully in the NRL with St George Illawarra and Newcastle Knights and, in addition to his three-year stint with Great Britain, enhanced his already burgeoning reputation during a spell as technical director at the Rugby Football League up to 2004, when he left to help lay the foundations for the Catalans’ entry into Super League.
“I know his experience will help me and it will help the players,” Frayssinous added.
“I am happy to have a guy like him on the coaching staff and I know the players are happy to work with him.
“He just wants to work on the footie. He doesn’t want all the social and management work, he just wants to work with the players.”