Jamie Szczerbanik has come a long way since carving up the Group 11 competition with the Parkes Spacemen. The former NSW Country back-rower is quickly making a name for himself in the coaching ranks. He's already been involved in developing some of Penrith's most exciting talent and coached a national team, but he's particularly excited about his new role. The man known as "Scissors" has officially taken the reins as the Illawarra Steelers' Harold Matthews (under 17s) head coach. "I've been here since the start of November and it's a change to what I'm used to, but it's a good change," he said. "It's exciting times, we've got a great facility here and a great bunch of coaching staff and players as well, so the future is bright for the Steelers." Szczerbanik played in the Group 6 competition in the Macarthur region before making the trip west to Parkes, where he enjoyed plenty of success and developed a formidable back-row partnership with Pat Rosser. He also coached junior footy at Parkes and won a premiership with the under 14s in his first year, before progressing to the Western Rams underage teams. He made the move to Penrith soon after and spent six years there, which included being defensive coach of the Panthers' Jersey Flegg (U/19s) side from 2018 to 2023. It was a successful period for the team, who made the grand final in his first year, and won the premiership in his final campaign. He also worked with some of their most prestigious youth - including Stephen Crichton, Matt Burton, Mitch Kenny and Spencer Leniu - who went on to taste the NRL's ultimate glory in recent years. Now, Szczerbanik hopes to unearth some gems at the Steelers. And in a statement that will bring a smile to any Steelers fanatic, Szczerbanik can see some similarities between the Penrith and Illawarra junior systems. "The whole pathways set up is a little bit different, but it's not far off in the fact that every team that wears this jersey are in and around each other, so it's building a culture or a community and family type thing," he said. "That's something that made the Panthers quite successful, and you can see it here. "Everybody knows everybody, everyone shake's each other's hand, no one walks past without saying 'hello'. You can be a good footballer without being a good person, but your career isn't going to go for long. "So we focus on building good people and a good culture, and the football will look after itself." One of the perks of joining the Steelers is Szczerbanik's chance to work alongside St George Illawarra's NRL head coach Shane Flanagan, who was appointed to the role in mid-June. Szczerbanik - who also has international coaching experience with Poland - said Flanagan was already making a mark on the Steelers program. "All of the structures at Penrith came from the top down, and there was a belief there in trusting the system and that things will always be okay," he said. "And that's sort of what we've got here now with 'Flanno' up top. "We've also had (Dragons assistant coach) Dean Young come to training, as well as Zac Lomax and the like. "And a couple of the boys in the SG Ball squad who train with first grade have been hanging around as well. "Even though they've not directly impacted our boys, just seeing them in and around gives it a real good feel and gives them the belief that one day it could be them up there. "And if I get an opportunity to learn off Flanno - and his support staff - I'm going to be a better coach for it."