Caputo calls time
In just three years as Head Coach, Marco Caputo has coached the Eagles to two Club Championships, Six Grand Finals, Four Premierships, Three Minor Premierships, and a Bob Hitchcock Territory Shield.
It’s a stellar list of achievements given the chance for silverware in 2021 was abolished due to the COVID-19 situation in the ACT.
Marco will forever be held high regard at the Eagles, and leaves the club with legendary status achieved.
Known for never mincing his words, never taking a backward step, and never asking a player, fellow coach, or volunteer to do anything he hasn’t done or wouldn’t do himself, he’ll be remembered as a passionate, caring and loyal coach with an unbelievable rugby IQ.
Marco says it won’t necessarily be the rugby he’ll miss the most, but walking through the Nicholls gates 2-3 times a week to spend time with 80-odd of his best mates.
“When I arrived back in Canberra and at the Eagles, I had a handful of good mates still heavily involved at the Eagles. And now I can safely say I’ve added a hundred to that list – and they’re a bloody good bunch of people”
“You walk through those old gates, you see the players and volunteers starting to huddle down by the sheds, the keen players are out practising, the not-so-keen ones are inside hiding, and the volunteers embrace you, all your stress or problems seem to subside for that brief period”
In his reflection of the last three seasons, Marco hopes he’s had a positive influence on the club, player wellbeing, and player development.
“I think we’ve grown a lot in catering for the players’ needs which is really important for a modern-day club. We’ve introduced a Leadership Coach (David King), Player Welfare Officer (Rich Skinner), and Club Chaplin (Mark Beresford), which I think is a great sign of the direction the club is moving in”
“I’m also really proud of how far some of our young players have come recently too. We’ve always wanted to play an exciting brand of footy which is a tough commitment for a young group to make. We want to be the team that can score from anywhere, defend our line hard, and control the set-piece as much as possible.”
“Players like Ioane, MacDonald, Haddad, (Joe) Caputo, Cunningham, Sega, Crowe, Atkins, Toole, Rous, Kotzy, Jonesy… the list is huge and there’s many more to add, but seeing how so many of our players have progressed and realised that they can have a career in rugby, that’s really special to me”
“I’m excited to see how the next generation takes the club forward and hopefully watch them break the drought. Eoghan and the club have been extremely supportive of me and helped me do my job throughout the last few years, and I think the club is in really good stead at the moment”
Whilst there are no rugby plans in Marco’s future as of yet, he will take some time to weigh up what’s next.
“I have a business opportunity here in Canberra to focus on, and of course becoming one of the Eagles Old Boys upstairs who watches on in support with a beer in hand.”
Club President Eoghan O’Byrne says Marco has made an incredible contribution to the Eagles as Head Coach for the last three years, and a collective six years.
“Marco came in on day one with extremely high expectations of himself and the players, and he’s taken the club to new heights. He should be extremely proud of how he’s carried himself and improved the club”
“The feedback from all around was that Marco knows the game inside and out. Our players were learning every single time he spoke, and he’s changed the future of a lot of young players”
“He also attracted great people to come and be involved in the club. Tim Gavel, Alan Tongue, Matt Giteau, just to name a few”
“We’ll miss Choc, that’s for sure. But he leaves the club in a better place with a legacy of high-performance, rugged determination, and a deep love of the Eagles”
Last week, the Eagles call of Expressions of Interest for Premier Division Coaching Positions ended, and O’Byrne is excited to appoint and announce Marco’s successor in due course.
“We’re really pleased with the quality of people who’ve put their hand up for the position, and we’ve established a Coaching Selection Panel who will be working hard in the coming weeks to make the appointment”
“For now, on behalf of the entire Gungahlin Eagles family, we thank Marco Caputo for his incredible work and wish him all the very best for the future”