Costello to take over from Swain as Thirroul coach
By Mitch Jennings - Illawarra Mercury
They're still hoping to make an impact in the finals, but Thirroul have already begun planning for next year, appointing Jarrod Costello to take over from coach Luke Swain.
Swain took the reins from 2014 premiership winner Nathan Fien as captain-coach this year and has been one of the most consistent performers in an otherwise inconsistent Butchers outfit.
He's still hoping to add a Coal League premiership the the NRL ring he won with the Panthers in 2003 before returning to junior club St Marys next season.
"I've had a great time at the Butchers but just moving forward professionally it's better for me to go that way," Swain said.
Costello assisted Fien in the Butchers' premiership season last year and stayed on as Swain's right-hand man this year.
Swain is confident he's leaving the club in good hands.
"I consider him a co-coach this year not an assistant so he's more than capable of doing the job," Swain said.
President Shane Millard said Costello's appointment, along with reserve grade coach Danny Ostwald and club great Ben Linde as 18s coach, is part of an approach to put the club back in local hands.
"Swainy's come in and done a good job and he's a champion bloke but he's moving on to St Marys. He's got a job in his field so we're rapt for him," Millard said.
"From a club perspective we need to get back to basics.
"We had a great year last year and then 10 of the 15 guys from the grand final squad left the club. This year we've struggled to replace that a little bit and we need to get more locals involved.
"We're a club with a helluva lot of really great sponsors but we haven't got that league club backing so we need to produce our own.
"We've got some really good kids coming through so we thought the best thing to do was to put a local bloke in charge of first grade for next season as well as across the club.
"Jarrod's been there his whole life, he's coached some winning and losing grand finals in reserve grade and he's been a [first grade] assistant the last two years so he's done a great apprenticeship."
In other signing news, Berkeley have taken a big step towards rebuilding in appointing former Roosters and Eels lower grade coach Aaron McDonald as head coach for next season.
McDonald coached the Eels SG Ball side last season and has also assisted with Wentworthville in the NSW Cup.
"We had several candidates to pick from and he was the one who stood out and we think he can deliver what we're looking for," Eagles president Richard Ford said.
"He's here for the right reasons and everything he put forward to us fit our overall plan.
"He's the sort of person we're looking for to take the club forward over the next couple of years."