Kogarah accountant in a Jets-set league of his own

Tough tackling:  Newtown Jets and Illawarra Cutters in action during last year's NSW Cup at WIN  Stadium.  Picture: Robert Peet.
Tough tackling: Newtown Jets and Illawarra Cutters in action during last year's NSW Cup at WIN Stadium. Picture: Robert Peet.

During business hours, Jim Pizanias is partner at MPK Accountants, Kogarah.

But at night and on weekends, one of his great loves, besides his wife Connie and children Terry and Nicholas, is rugby league.

Pizanias, 44, is an assistant coach with the Newtown Jets NSW Cup team.

The Jets are the feeder club for NRL team, Cronulla Sharks.

Pizanias, of Blakehurst, went to James Cook Boys High School, Kogarah, where former Dragons coach Brian Smith taught physical education.

Lift off: Newtown Jets assistant coach Jim Pizanias. Picture: Jane Dyson

Lift off: Newtown Jets assistant coach Jim Pizanias. Picture: Jane Dyson

He played prop and second rower in schoolboy footy.

In 1984 he was part of the school’s Buckley Shield team which won the state wide competitions and was a member of the Commonwealth Bank Cup 1987 semi-final team.

Pizanias played in the St George junior league with Brighton Seagulls.

‘‘I grew up following the Dragons,’’ he said.

‘‘From club footy, I got to play two years with the Dragons Jersey Flegg Cup representative team and then I was thrilled to play grade with Saints in 1991-92,’’ Pizanias said.

Smith was Dragons head coach in 1991-95.

After he finished his playing days at Saints, Pizanias’s link with the Newtown Jets began and from 1993 to 1996 he played for the blue and whites in the NSW Rugby League Metropolitan Cup.

Then the ‘‘coaching bug’’ bit him.

‘‘I coached in the NSW Tertiary League and was head coach at Sydney University in 2008-2010, then I coached at UTS Tigers from 2011-2012,’’ Pizanias said.

‘‘I was assistant coach with the NSW Universities team in 2010-2011 and assistant coach with the Australian Universities team in 2010.

‘‘We went through that tour of England and France undefeated.’’

Pizanias, who was born in Australia to Greek parents, said one of his rugby league highlights had been playing eight international games for Greece and now as assistant coach to former Roosters and Magpies utility player Steve Georgallis of the Greek rugby league international side from 2007 until now.

‘‘That holds a special place in my heart,’’ he said.

Pizanias  said that being assistant coach of the Jets NSW Cup team since 2013 has been an invaluable experience.

‘‘To work alongside and ply my trade with head coach Greg Matterson is humbling’’ he said.

‘‘In footy, like in life, you never stop learning and one day would love to become a head coach.’’

Pizanias said that working closely with Cronulla Sharks has been educational and praised head coach Shane Flanagan and his staff.

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