Coleman confident Eagles can fly again in 2015

Despite just nine players returning from their 2014 campaign, NSW Country coach Darren Coleman is confident the Eagles can be a force again in the 2015 National Rugby Championships.

Following the departures of Sam Windsor, Cam Treloar, Steve Hoiles and Paddy Dellitt, Coleman lost both Ben Matwijow and Michael Aloaatoa to the ITM Cup last month and Mick Snowden, John Grant and Josh Mann-Rea to season ending injuries.

“Lot’s of new guys, but I guess that it the nature of the competition. Guys have aspirations to push through to the professional level and if that doesn’t happen here, some of them take opportunities overseas,” Coleman told Rugby News.

However with last year’s leading try-scorer Andrew Kellaway returning for his second NRC, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel.

“He made a name for himself in the NRC last year and after a full year of professional training with the Waratahs, I’m really looking forward to seeing what he can do,” the coach said.

Waratahs recruit Sam Lousi and Irish international Tom Sexton add plenty of grunt in the forwards, with Beau Robinson, Mark Baldwin and Will Miller all set to feature in a talented Eagles backrow.

“Will Miller is a real classy player and a good farm boy too, so we are really excited to have him back. His first half of the tournament was exceptional last year and I’m sure he’ll be looking to hold that level through to the end this year.”

“He’ll have his work cut out because there are some other very good backrowers in the squad, particularly Baldwin from Randwick. He’s a very good on the ball No.7 so there will be some good competition there.”

The Eagles have had a number of sessions together already and begin training full time on Monday, ahead of a three day camp in Newcastle late next week.

“One of our advantages last year was that we were able to get out of the gates early and all got on the same page quickly so that will be key,” Coleman said.

“If we can have a similar season to last year and perhaps go one better, it’d be great.”

NSW Country Eagles – 2015 NRC squad

Mark Baldwin – Camden

Brogan Roods – Randwick

Charlie Clifton – Bathurst

Michael Dowsett – Brumbies

Nicholas Palmer – Newcastle

Samuel Figg – Randwick

Tom Merritt – Byron Bay

Tom Sexton – Rebels

Tom Staniforth – West Wyalong/Brumbies

Will Fay – Eastern Suburbs

Dave Faeo – Brisbane

Dane Marakai – Manly

Dashville Kuate – Randwick

Andrew Collins – Manly

Ryan Dalziel – Eastern Suburbs

Ned Hanigan – Coonamble

Sam Lousi – Waratahs

Sam Croke – Lennox Head

Will Miller – Nowra

Tyrone Viiga – Eastern Suburbs

Pauli Tuala – Wollongong

Beau Robinson – Dubbo

Jock Merriman – Boorowa

David Harvey – West Harbour

Jono Lance – Canberra

Ed Stubbs – Eastern Suburbs

David Horwitz – Randwick

Jarome Mckenzie – Eastern Suburbs

Andrew Kellaway – Randwick

Joel Brooks – West Harbour