NSW Rugby recently embarked on a development trip to the NSW Western Plains and Central West, an approximate 2400km round trip to run sessions for the zone’s players, volunteers and coaches.
The weekend kicked off with the Western Zone PSSA Girls trials, followed by a stop in Brewarrina to work with the local coaches sat their new clubhouse and reconnect with some of the local rugby community.
NSW Coach Development and Education Manager Owain Roberts, who travelled with NSW Country Development Manager Angus McDonald, said: “it was going on this drive that really rammed home the distance to me. I think we drove for 90 minutes without seeing another car.”
The next day brought stops in Dubbo and then on to see the Wellington Redbacks.
“I really enjoyed Wellington, we did some coach development, putting them through a Coaching Kids Skills Session. It really helped to enhance their understanding of skill development and how to progress it,” Roberts said.
“The local players jumped in to help too, there was some great talent on display,” he said.
NSW Country Development Manager Angus McDonald said it was great to see the local community engaged in the weekend’s activities.
“I’ve been pretty keen to get Owain out here with me, working with the zone’s coaches as well as getting an understanding of rugby in the area,” McDonald said.
“We’ve got some pretty big plans for coach development in New South Wales, so I appreciated getting him out here and taking him to as many clubs as possible across the zone,” he said.
A highlight of the trip was the kids clinic in Gulargambone, where Roberts and McDonald were joined by AON 7s player Janalee Conroy, a Western Plains and Brewarrina product.
“That was a great morning – plenty of kids running around with rugby balls and leaving with Waratahs hats,” McDonald said.
“Coaches working on their craft, with most wearing denim and dress shirts before celebrating their 40th anniversary as a club, a pretty special time for the Gulargambone Galahs,” he said.
Roberts echoed McDonald’s comments, adding that his highlight was being immersed in the country rugby community.
“The highlight of the trip is pretty clear – It’s the people. It was great to see so many people involved with the game and passionate about it,” Roberts said.
“From minis to adults, playing, coaching or volunteering – their commitment to the game it’s communities is awesome!
“What’s best, is that these Rugby Clubs are at the very heart of their communities. And that means so much, even outside of the game itself,” Roberts said.
One of the busiest stops on the trip was in Walgett, something that Roberts said was pleasing to see.
“There was a lot on in Walgett, coaching the Rams was great, we had a great time going through a couple of things that could help them in their upcoming season,” Roberts said.
“Again, some very talented players who saw the big picture and placing what we did into their game plan.
“Our on field session was followed by a community BBQ to watch the Waratahs on the big screen. It was great to see the rugby community coming together in its heart, the clubhouse, sitting and watching the Tahs,” he said.
The next morning it was all on at the juniors clinic at the local Sporto, with the coaches also getting involved in a Coaching Kids Skills session, followed by an afternoon of women’s Touch 7s.
“With local girls and a group travelling form Bourke, it was great to see the commitment to not only get there, but on field, where they excelled,” Roberts said.
A big thank you to Troy and Rebecca Yeoman who organised the weekend and it was great to see such a good turnout of players and coaches alike.
Next on the list for the Western Plains zone is the Juniors Development Camp being held in Bourke.
Players and coaches from across the zone will be in attendance, for plenty of rugby action, both on and off the field. They’ll also be entertained with a big screen to watch the Waratahs v Force game, and have Super W players Sera Naiqama and Atasi Lafai helping out for the weekend.