2017 Grand Final: Meet the teams… Warringah
Warringah head coach Darren Coleman takes us through his 23 man squad for tomorrow’s Intrust Super Shute Shield grand final showdown…
All photos by Red Bandana / Karen Watson
1. RORY O’CONNOR: If you pick someone from this group with the drive, attitude and physical tools to make a pro career out of the sport, Rory is at the top of the list. He is your stereotypical 30-year-old, battle-hardened, back-hating prop – despite being only 22 – and he’s been the cornerstone of a strong scrum all year.
2. LUKE HOLMES: Luke runs out for his 200th 1st grade game, which is an outstanding achievement considering how many years he spent in Super Rugby. He brings experience, knowledge and clear thinking to our game. His current injury is a testament to the amount of pain he has played through, not once, but every session and every game for the last four or five weeks. He has been inspirational.
3. SAM NEEDS: Every team needs a tattoed, psychotic, Hells Angel-style hardman and Sam is ours. His single-minded drive to succeed is inspirational, and he leaves no stone unturned in his preparation.
4. JACK TOMKINS: Rugby for JT is the extension of a weekend hunting – one big game of track, catch and kill. For mine, he’s been our most improved player and the player that has surprised me the most. He gives us a physical edge that has been a base to our game this year.
5. SAM THOMSON: Our Scottish import demonstrates the beauty of what rugby can provide. He is travelling the world, making new friends and enjoying some great experiences. He is a lineout tactician who is still growing into his body and gives us another physical player in the tight five.
6. MACLEAN JONES: He’s our version of Ray Price – Mr Perpetual Motion. You have to see it with your own eyes to believe the amount of work he gets through in a game. I reckon he runs around his house practicing cleaning out coffee tables and fridges for a living. The only thing that matches his tackle count is his schooner count on a Saturday night.
7. TOM CONNOR: Tommy’s determination to succeed and be the best he can be is unwavering. Check him out tomorrow as Norths make a break in the game and just watch what he does after that – he saves more tries than anyone else in our team. His day’s success can sometimes be determined by the ref’s interpretation, but he is in there competing on every play.
8. SAM WARD (VC): Sam and his family are the reason we play this weekend. With the tragic passing of his brother, the way he has stood up and not only led this team, but led the club and his family has been a credit to him as a person. His game continues to develop, and he’s doing some things on the field that he didn’t do last year. He’s just a great man.
9. JOSH HOLMES: Josh is in a rich vein of form, and that was easy to see in the semi-final. For me, the best thing about Josh, besides all the brilliant things he does, is that he has worked really hard and committed to some other key aspects of his game. These are parts that would go largely unnoticed by the others, and it’s generally when he’s not around the ball. He’s a much more complete footballer this year.
10. HAMISH ANGUS (C): Hamish is one of those players that you have to coach or play with to really appreciate. His composure, tactical brain and skill set are first class. In moments of madness or stress on the field, he’s the player the team looks to for guidance and direction.
11. HARRY JONES: Harry’s talent is there for all to see, he’s an out-and-out try-scorer and there’s no-one more dangerous out on the left wing. Like Josh, he’s really working hard on some of the work-on’s in his game, and in the last three or four weeks, the defensive side of his game has been the best I’ve seen.
12. JOSH GILLARD: A bit like JT, has been a bit of a surprise package. He’s had to work his way into the starting team this year as he played mostly through injuries to others in the first half of the season. But he gives us that classical second ball-player with the skill-set of a 10 and for a small bloke, he’s deceptively tough and physical.
13. SEB WILEMAN: His game has gone to another level, particularly over the last five weeks. In our last three games he’s outplayed Cam Clark, Henry Hutchison and Denis Pili-Gaitau – all Super Rugby radar players – and I think he’s got the better of all three in consecutive weeks. He’s a danger with ball in hand, and his defensive side of the game is really becoming physical.
14. SAILOSI TAGICAKIBAU: Sailosi’s resume speaks for itself. You always have concerns when you bring a high-profile player at the end of his career into a team, but his team-first attitude, his general demeanour and what he provides around the group, is way more than what he does with ball in hand.
15. DAVE FELTSCHEER: Like many of the club stalwarts, winning a Premiership would mean more to him than anyone else. He played over 60 games in colts for the club and he’s now pushing towards his 200th game in grade. He’s a very well-rounded and elusive fullback.
16. ROB KELLY: Rob is a tradesman of the hooker position. His set-piece is strong, he’s very physical around all the contact points. A good northern beaches boy that’s loyal to the cause and I’d love to see him celebrate a grand final victory.
17. ALATASI TUITUOHU: Tasi is a young 21-year-old prop with enormous physical potential. He’s still learning the game and this is great for his apprenticeship, being able to be involved in this play-off series. He’ll continue to grow and develop into a high-quality Shute Shield prop years to come.
18. MANNASEH ALAGA: He is our second-half scrum destroyer. He brings huge physical presence and bulk into the latter part of a game and he can be quite explosive with ball in hand, and is your stereotypical, good-natured Samoan boy until he crosses the white line.
19. CAMERON TRELOAR: The fact that ‘Tree’ is here puts a smile on the faces of everyone except his wife! He is a true legend of the club, captained the last Shute Shield victory in 2005 and is someone the boys look to and have a feeling of comfort when he’s on the field with them, particularly around set-piece time.
20. TOM PREECE: A mad kiwi – literally, mad. He brings that physical toughness and edge to our team, and like all kiwis he has a good game understanding and is well-rounded in all aspects. You want to watch where you run in the latter part of the game when he comes in.
21. DAVE SMERDON: He’s in his first-year out of colts, is quite skilful in the fact he covers 9, 10, 12 and even 15 for us, and that gives us that flexibility with our bench. His running game is his best aspect and as he develops in the other aspects of his game over the years to come, he’ll be a genuine high-quality Shute Shield player, if not above.
22. MYLES DORRIAN: Myles increases the average of our team’s rugby IQ, and our average age! As you’ve seen, he stepped in at short-notice for Hamish and warmed into the role, and whether it’s him or Hamish out there in the 10 jersey, our players and staff have absolute confidence in how he’ll manage the game and get us around the field. He’s also deceptively tough in a tackle situation.
23. TYSON DAVIS: A dynamic ball runner and his build and his physical status see him break a lot of tackles. He has deceptive speed and I’m hopeful that his attacking x-factor and impact will serve us well in the late parts of the game.
WARRINGAH: 1. Rory O’Connor; 2. Luke Holmes; 3. Sam Needs; 4. Jack Tomkins; 5. Sam Thomson; 6. Maclean Jones; 7. Tom Connor; 8. Sam Ward (VC); 9. Josh Holmes; 10. Hamish Angus (C); 11. Harry Jones; 12. Josh Gillard; 13. Seb Wileman: 14. Sailosi Tagicakibau; 15. Dave Feltscheer Replacements: 16. Rob Kelly; 17. Alatasi Tuitouhu; 18. Manasseh Alaga; 19. Cameron Treloar; 20. Tom Preece; 21. Dave Smerdon; 22. Myles Dorrian; 23. Tyson Davis
A quick acknowledgment of the following players who won’t take the field today but have played a huge part in the Rats being in the ‘Big Dance: Paula Kaho, Max Girdler, Chris Ale, Jason Lautolo, Andrew Davies, Harley Attwater and Michael Adams.