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2004-2008 Skills and Conditioning Coach -  Northern Rivers Rugby League Academy & Northern Rivers Division U18 Representative Team

Scroll down the page if you would like to view various details and images of my time working within Northern Rivers U18 representative rugby league:

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CRL Northern Rivers Academy - In 2004 I was invited by the NSW CRL Northern Rivers player development manager, Graham Boland to join the coaching panel for the region's rugby league academy. This panel also comprised head coach Wayne Cullen, assistant coach Peter Smith (who played for St. George and the Gold Coast Tweed Giants/Seagulls) and Tony Durheim (who played for the Gold Coast Seagulls and Chargers).

Our role as the coaching panel was to select players, ranging in age from 16-18 years, from throughout the Northern Rivers region (Tweed Heads in the north to Grafton in the south and west to Grafton) for inclusion in the CRL's Academy programme. Once selected players then attended a range of training camps/clinics and played games against other invited teams. The camps helped to develop player skill and tactical knowledge, individual fitness and understanding of the importance of appropriate nutrition, injury management/prevention and the demands of elite level preparation. Many of the players in the 2004/05 squad were already being targeted by NRL teams.

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As part of my role with the Academy I also prepared a weight training manual, which outlined a 16 week introductory resistance training programme for squad members. This programme was designed on the basis that none of the players had much weight training experience and so it helped to educate players about some of the basic principles of resistance training and also provided them with a simple progressive programme that if followed would help them to develop their general strength and possibly increase their lean body mass. This programme and manual was then adopted by the NSW CRL for use in all its Academies throughout NSW. This link will take you to a pdf copy of the most recent (2007/08) version of this manual.

Northern Rivers Division U18 Representative Team 2005 to 2008 - each year a number of quality players from the region are selected in the Northern Rivers Division U18 representative team to compete in the NSW CRL Country Championships. This is a knockout tournament with teams competing from throughout Country NSW. The team photo for the 2005 team is below and it was a great experience to be involved with them and to ultimately win the entire competition.

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NSW U18 Country Rugby League Champions 2005NRU18CRLChampions2005

Back row - from left to right: Wayne Cullen (Head Coach), Shannon Walker, Harry Witt, Ben Crawford, Dane Evans, Sam Panting, Clarence Kelly, John Borrowdale (Team Manager)
Middle row - from left to right: Bob McGee (Trainer), Ben Coles (Physiotherapist), Rudi Meir (Skills & Conditioning Coach), Dean French, Brodie Williams, Pat Norton, Trent Clark, Adam Darby, Nic Forrester, Gary Cullen (Assistant Team Manager), Tony Maluta (Trainer), Peter Smith (Assistant Coach)
Front row - from left to right:Tom Court, Sam Conlon, Michael Keating, David Bauman, Mitch Aubussoon, Will Matthews, James Rix, Michael Kaufman

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The head coach, Wayne Cullen is very committed to the sport and to helping young players develop and progress their careers. Wayne and I have continued to work together with the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League (NRRRL) management and to coach the region's U18 representative teams for 4 seasons (2005-2008). Wayne and I have also worked together as the senior coaching team for the Mullumbimby Giants RLFC in 2009. I have also worked with senior NRRRL representative teams in the same competition.

My local coaching experience in the NRRRL competition has included a number of years working with senior players and coaches at Byron Bay Red Devils RLFC (my home team) where I first started my "coaching" career in 1983 with ex Canterbury player Norm Thomas. At Byron Bay I have also worked with ex Manly player Tom Mooney, and John Harvey, who played for Eastern Suburbs and Manly.

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