Having recently joined the NSW Country Eagles as Head Coach, I’m really excited to be part of this newly formed club. I’ve lived and breathed rugby since playing local super-8s when I was a kid. Right now is a great time to be involved with rugby and the formation of the National Rugby Championship or NRC offers an exciting new tier and generates increased support for aspiring young players to get involved in the sport.
My passion for rugby was solidified when I made the change from living and playing in the country to working and coaching in the city. Rugby has provided me an awesome career and numerous coaching roles both locally with the Brumbies, and several overseas assignments. Coaching in Canada, Ireland and more recently Japan, the culture, diversity and passion for rugby in these different areas has really reshaped my approach to the game.
Returning to Australia presented an exciting opportunity for me to gather the cream of NSW’s regional players under the Eagles’ banner. A lot of Australia’s top rugby talent comes from country NSW origins, the NRC provides a clear pathway for players to gain exposure and careers on the national stage.
The NRC’s innovative new structure will see the Eagles play in both Sydney and regional NSW, and it’ll widen the talent search area beyond the singular locales of the city and country, and that’s a huge plus for the game. With such a diverse pool of talent on display, the resulting team is sure to be the kind of club that inspires steadfast loyalty and enthusiasm from it’s supporters.
I encourage Eagles’ supporters to embrace social media to directly engage with the team and club and myself so we hear feedback and comments on players, our games and what fans are thinking. The more members we sign up to the club and the greater numbers of tickets we sell for regional games, the more it will help propagate our club and the new national competition.
Being a country fellow myself, I’ve got a strong sense of community and I think that sentiment will be shared between players, the club and it’s supporters. The NSW Country Eagles represent the people of regional and rural NSW and it’ll enable them to really get behind local players at games being played at local venues. People in the country have been crying out for a higher standard of rugby and the Eagles are set to deliver some terrific games throughout the season.
I’m looking forward to taking the opportunity to stoke the flames of the city/country rivalry and prove to every Australian rugby fan that the most talented players are the boys from bush of New South Wales and those who play for the NSW Country Eagles.