Luke Branighan signs on as captain-coach of Canowindra Tigers for 2020 Woodbridge Cup

KICKING ON: Luke Branighan has signed with Canowindra to coach for the 2020 Woodbridge Cup season. The former NRL half will link with Dean Murray to mentor the Tigers in their centenary season. Photo: PHIL BLATCH
KICKING ON: Luke Branighan has signed with Canowindra to coach for the 2020 Woodbridge Cup season. The former NRL half will link with Dean Murray to mentor the Tigers in their centenary season. Photo: PHIL BLATCH

FORMER Oberon Tigers captain-coach Luke Branighan has linked with Canowindra for the 2020 Woodbridge Cup, signing a one-year deal with the club that is likely to be his last contract.

The 38-year-old - who coached St Pat's in the Group 10 competition this year - will link with good mate Dean Murray to coach the black and golds in the club's centenary year.

Branighan said being part of a small-town club for such a special season is a privilege and he was confident he'd help steer Canowindra towards the title.

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The club finished fifth this year and Branighan was enthused by the quality locals on the club's books heading into 2020.

But the former NRL half remained coy about further additions at Tom Clyburn Oval.

"A few of my good mates might follow me to the club," he said. "The legs don't move like they used to, but I know I can push a side around the park. I look forward to playing with the local boys."

Canowindra hasn't won a premiership since knocking off Grenfell 30-24 in 1995.

Branighan - who coached Oberon in 2017 and 2018, taking the club to the grand final in the first of those two years - said the challenge of returning the club to the top of the Woodbridge Cup was also an attractive proposition.

"Most of my captain-coach gigs in the bush, I've signed at clubs for the challenge," he said.

St Pat's decided to part ways with Branighan after the first year of a two-year deal after the blue and whites finished eighth this season.

Most of my captain-coach gigs in the bush, I've signed at clubs for the challenge.

Former Oberon captain-coach Luke Branighan

"The fact Canowindra hasn't won a Woodbridge Cup for 25 years, I look at that as a challenge and being their 100th year it's a privilege to be part of that," he added.

"I just want to enjoy my last season."

The addition of Branighan is a coup for the Tigers and the Woodbridge Cup, the small-town premiership building year on year.

Branighan said he was looking forward to the competition, and taking on a couple of old adversaries.

He played against now Trundle gun Adam Hall when the pair were part of the Group 9 competition. Branighan was with Young and Hall with the Wagga Kangaroos.