Newcastle Rugby: All-nighter par for the course for Wanderers breakaway

COMMITTED: Wanderers breakaway Sam Schmidt. The former Mudgee Wombat iwill be a key figure in the Two Blues' finals push. Picture: Stewart Hazell

COMMITTED: Wanderers breakaway Sam Schmidt. The former Mudgee Wombat iwill be a key figure in the Two Blues' finals push. Picture: Stewart Hazell

WANDERERS breakaway Sam Schmidt has worked out how to tune his body clock and ensure energy levels are high. It’s the 90 minute drive at full-time that is the killer.

Schmidt works as an electrician in the coalmines west of Singleton. For the past three months he has been on dogwatch shift and works overnight Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“By the time I get home to Georgetown on Saturday morning it’s about eight,” he said “I sleep until one and have quick bite before footy. It’s tough when you first get up on Saturday and get ready. Then sitting in the car for 90 minutes straight after it makes it tough. Any little injuries, your body doesn’t get time to recover because you are up all night. I could have done four twelve-hour days mid-week, but then I wouldn’t be able to train and would be in the lower grades.”

The less-than-ideal preparation has not impacted on Schmidt’s game.

The wiry No.7 rips in from the first whistle to the last.

“He has a ferocious appetite for the contest,” Wanderers coach Darren Young said. “Last game against Beaches when we were trying to make up points, he took a kick-off and went straight through them on a 50-metre run. We scored off the next phase. That is the sort of thing he is capable of. Defensively he has a unique country style when he tackles. He goes in up top and rips the ball as he makes contact.”

Schmidt is in his second year at Wanderers after moving from Mudgee for work. He played for the Mudgee Wombats and was the 2016 Central West player of the year. His good mate and winger Jack Lewsley relocated with him.

“There are bigger bodies here and it is a lot quicker,” Schmidt said. “I came to Wanderers after about five rounds and then had a couple of little injuries.”

Schmidt and Lewlsey played in the Two Blues’ 20-19 loss to Merewether in the second-grade grand final. Young was coach.

“The energy he brings to a team. He is a real instinctive player particularly for a loose forward. We identified that we could really use that this year,” Young said.

Schmidt missed three games mid season to tour the US with the Queensland Outback Barbarians. They played seven games in four weeks and conducted a training camp in Cuba.

“It was pretty wild,” he said. “It was good footy and a good bunch of blokes. We won every and then spent a week in Cuba. They didn’t speak a lick of English but it was a good experience.”

The Two Blues are fifth entering the final round against Hamilton but are guarantee a final berth and can’t climb any higher than fourth.

“It’s a big game and a chance for us to make a bit of a statement going into the finals,” Schmidt said.