Greg Doolan gives life lessons at Waratahs

FOR the coach of The Waratahs, Greg Doolan, the job is about more than rugby.

Doolan has been in Newcastle only a few months but has already made significant changes at the Tahs.

On the field the Kiwi mentor is setting about rebuilding the club, largely with a group of talented and enthusiastic youngsters.

Off it he is implementing change as well.

A qualified teacher, Doolan has developed a leadership program designed to help players in every aspect of their lives.

‘‘People say that someone is a born leader,’’ Doolan said.

‘‘To me that is a complete fallacy. It is an acquired skill like everything else.

‘‘Everyone can be a leader. Every time you have a ball in your hands on the field you are a leader because you are taking a team to a better place or a worse place by your decision making.

‘‘I try to correspond decision making on the field to decision making off the field.

‘‘If we have young guys who are able to make right decisions off the field, they are likely to have more successful lives. It is a holistic thing. We want to try and add to young people’s lives.

‘‘We do a lot of stuff with anger management to make sure people don’t enter into what we call red zones where they lose self-control.

‘‘We go through things like composure, commitment and happiness ... what happiness really is and how you live a successful and happy life.’’

Doolan has conducted the program at various clubs, amateur and professional, and businesses around the world.

‘‘The days of a rugby club or sports club just being that are not enough,’’ he said.

‘‘We want parents to understand that if their kids come to this organisation, they are going to be learning life skills.

‘‘There are a lot of successful rugby players whose lives are a mess because of drinking and anger management.

‘‘I have had a number of famous rugby players spend time with me because of issues they have had. They say they wish they had learnt this when they were younger.’’

Doolan is nine weeks into the program, which is voluntary and conducted on Mondays at the Tahs’ licensed club.

‘‘We are definitely seeing a lot more self-control on the field to certain situations,’’ Doolan said.

‘‘I have not been around the club in the past, but guys who have have seen a noticeable difference in composure.

‘‘Individuals who might have been a bit hot-headed are showing leadership skills.

‘‘The environment is a very positive one.’’

The Tahs are in ninth place on one win. But their defeats have been to heavyweights Merewether (22-14), Southern Beaches (41-14) and Hamilton (29-17).

‘‘We want to win games, but I can’t fault the effort,’’ Doolan said. ‘‘Apart from the Southern Beaches game, we have played pretty well.

‘‘We do have some guys joining us. Last week we brought in Fala Sakari, who played for me in New Zealand and is a very good prop. We have another couple of props we hope will be here in the next few weeks and a couple of tall locks coming as well.

‘‘If we get four wins in this first round and I have everyone on board for the second round, I’m confident we can pick up six or seven wins and get into play-off contention.’’

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