Demetriou: Both Teams Evenly Matched
By Jack Brady (NRL.com)
When the Illawarra Cutters run out on to Pirtek Stadium on Sunday afternoon to face Mounties in the NSW Cup Grand Final, their coach Jason Demetriou will be 80 minutes away from potentially creating history.
Demetriou is on the brink of becoming the first coach to win a trifecta of premierships including the ISP competition, the Intrust Super Cup and the NRL State Championship – a remarkable feat considering the latter has been played just twice.
Having led the Northern Pride to Queensland Cup and State Championship successes in 2014, Demetriou also played an integral role as part of the Cowboys coaching staff during their premiership-winning season last year.
Demetriou shifted to the Dragons at the beginning of 2016 to join Paul McGregor's coaching staff and become Cutters head coach.
A St George junior – having played for the Dragons' Harold Matthews and SG Ball teams growing up – a return home for Demetriou was too good an opportunity to deny himself.
"I've been fortunate enough to coach some pretty good teams. I had a great group and a great culture up at the Northern Pride and then obviously some great success with the North Queensland Cowboys last year," Demetriou told NRL.com.
"I couldn't have dreamt the success that I've had but the Cutters boys have created a family culture this season and it's a credit to the players that I've been fortunate enough to be involved in.
"It was a huge attraction to come back to Sydney for me," Demetriou added of his Dragons opportunity.
"To be able to coach at the club I grew up wanting to play for has been a dream come true."
Demetriou was adamant that his time under Paul Green in North Queensland helped shape his career as a coach as well, before addressing his desire of heading an NRL club moving forward.
"It was huge for me to get a good understanding of how an NRL club is run. To go to a big club and get to see how 'Greeny' runs his operation and the attention to detail from the top to the bottom in terms of the staffing is incredible," Demetriou said.
"Not only that, Greeny is a very good coach so I definitely learnt off him. I was fortunate also to work alongside David Furner and John Cartwright, who remain head coaches in their own right. I was blessed to soak up as much as I could when I was there.
"It's the end goal [to be a head coach]," Demetriou added. "But like I always say, it's an end goal. There's processes you need to go through and I'm happy doing what I'm doing currently and learning my trade."
Despite the Cutters' upcoming opponents Mounties winning their past 11 games, Demetriou remained unperturbed over how they'd handle the occasion.
"We have been about our own game this year and we have shown that throughout the course of the season," he said.
"There's not a lot between the two teams. What we can't be doing is worrying about what Mounties are doing.
"We have to be good at what we do and confident in what we do is going to enough to get the job done."