Hamilton Hawks coach Scott Coleman has lauded a move by the Wallabies to visit the Hunter later this month and hopes to even learn a thing or two from Australian mentor Michael Cheika.
Coleman, who is striving for three straight Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union premierships, welcomed Friday’s announcement to bring the national squad to Newcastle and Cessnock ahead of the opening Bledisloe Cup clash against the All Blacks in Sydney on August 19. But he also believed a coaching seminar would add to the experience.
“Behind Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra the Hunter is probably the next biggest so it’s massive for the area and rugby union in general,” Coleman said.
“Hopefully a session or two will be open so the public can come and have a look. You could end up with 1000 people there people watching if it’s the right time of day.
“And I know they have a pretty busy schedule, but some sort of coaching seminar or allowing coaches to come and watch one of their sessions would be awesome as well. Ultimately it’s a good thing to give back to the community and trying to get everyone back behind Australian rugby again.”
Newcastle will host the Wallabies during the last week of July. This will include training sessions at No.2 Sportsground.
They move to Cessnock Sprotsground from August 6 and the Australian group are already looking forward to the change of scenery.
“Country and regional rugby all around Australia is our heartland,” Cheika said.
“The Wallaby support is very strong in these areas so Cessnock and Newcastle will be a great chance for us to feel that support before we take on New Zealand.
"I've already been up there a number of times - great facilities, great people and a great chance for us to share the gold jersey with the people of the region while we get ready for the mother of all matches in Sydney.”
Closer to home this Saturday in the premier one competition and Coleman has elevated lock Joe Akkersdyk to captain in the absence of hooker Steve Lamont, who will miss the rest of this season after breaking his arm and dislocating his wrist in last weekend’s narrow two-point win over Maitland. The ladder-leading Hawks host cellar dwellers Singleton.
Elsewhere and the match of round 12 has seventh-placed The Waratahs at home to fourth-placed Lake Macquarie with just six points between them on the table. Southern Beaches tackle University, Merewether meet the Blacks and Wanderers have Nelson Bay.