IF Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union’s top coaches came to yesterday’s masterclass expecting Wallabies mentor Robbie Deans to reveal complicated game plans as the secret of success, they would have left disappointed.
Deans instead reinforced the importance of the basics of rugby when he met local coaches at No.1 Sportsground.
The seminar, followed by training session with Newcastle High School students, gave coaches the rare chance to gain an insight into the thinking behind one of rugby’s elite tacticians.
‘‘We’re all in this together,’’ Deans said of mentoring other coaches.
‘‘Our end in theory is the top end and some people look at it like that, but it’s the same game.
‘‘To be frank, it’s about having a great experience in your time in the game no matter what level you’re at. We’re only as good as what comes through.
‘‘If players aren’t good to go when they get to our end you’re chasing the bus. We’re reliant on the work that’s done in the communities. We’re all in it together, so the more we can help them the more they can help us.’’
Deans spoke about the importance of making his players aware of what was happening around them on the field and incorporating that into training.
Defence, communication and encouraging players to think outside the square were other points he stressed.
Premiership-winning Merewether Carlton coach Stacey Sykes said he would incorporate some of Deans’s teaching into his side.
‘‘He got back to the basics and that’s what the game has really broken into – breakdown, rucks, tackle etc,’’ Sykes said.
‘‘Keep it simple is what it’s all about, even for the professionals.
‘‘I got plenty out of the day. A lot of it is about using your brain and having the right awareness.’’
NSW Country and Newcastle under 20s coach Matt Thomas asked Deans specifically about how to communicate to different players.
Deans spoke about the VARK learning model which involves tailoring information to the needs of different people through visual, audio or through practical means.
‘‘When you have 23 different guys in a squad, you have 23 different personalities,’’ Thomas said.
‘‘You’ve got to combine your personality and get your point across to the 23.
‘‘Rugby is all about communication, and so is any sport.
‘‘The more we talk the better it is.
‘‘For me, he just highlighted that to take in.’’