The NSW Waratahs ran young players in Blacktown through their paces last week to run a coaching clinic for young players.
Hosted by the Blacktown Scorpions Junior Rugby Union Club, the Waratahs ran drills with over 300 players coming from across the region coming together.
Scorpions club president Doug Adamson said it was a privilege to host the Super Rugby franchise players.
“It’s really good that they could come down here and it gives the kids a world of good to meet them and get some tips from them,” he said.
“Hopefully the kids go away with a renewed enthusiasm. What they focused on is teamwork, code of conduct, respect for the opposition and officials.”
With several of the current Waratahs squad coming from western Sydney, Mr Adamson said it was important to show young players the pathways to Super Rugby.
He said the Scorpions often try to bring alumni who play, coach or administer to show their players the pathways to higher honours.
“It’s really important that they can see that there is a pathway for them and that they can be the next Will Skelton or Kurtley Beale or whoever and there’s nothing stopping them,” he said.
“It’s hard work and dedication. Having that identity and associating with that is lovely. We have a large Polynesian base in our player pool so the players like Issy Folau are a real drawcard.”
Waratahs scrum-half Jake Gordon said it was great to be part of the clinic with some great union skills on show in what is a tradition rugby league area.
“Seeing smiles on young kids faces means a lot to me and to see so many people here shows that Rugby NSW is still strong,” he said.
“It’s good to see that so many kids want to play. I came up through the club system playing for Canterbury so there’s a lot of meaning here for me.”
For Gordon, who is in his first year of Super Rugby, he said it’s been a tough year.
NSW finished the Super Rugby competition with a 40-11 loss to the Western Force, languishing second-last in the Australian conference and third-last overall.
After a poor season, Gordon said with several new players debuting in 2017, the side would be better for the run.
“It has been quite disappointing and we know it ourselves,” he said.
“We’re out there day-in, day-out working hard and it’s not working out for us at the moment but as a whole, I think our fans should be excited. This won’t happen again and we’re very positive we’ll turn it around.”