Northern Suburbs 2016 Season Preview

Simon Cron coaching 2

by Paul Cook –

Last Year: 8th

Ins: Larry Hermens (Parramatta); Irae Simone (South Sydney Rabbitohs, NRL); Angus Sinclair (Eastern Suburbs)

Outs: Tim Duchesne (Northampton Saints, UK); Ben Matwijow (Queensland Reds); Michael Wells (ACT Brumbies)

Coaching Team: Head coach – Simon Cron / Assistants – Matt Nilan / Skills – Will Eggleston

Captain: Will Miller

Overview – with Simon Cron

“One of the things we’ve really pushed in the off-season is a ‘compete-to-win philosophy’, so in everything we do, we compete to win. That’s part of transitioning a club that potentially accepted mediocrity a little bit into one that has an environment where we compete to win in everything we do. Last year, I had a group that were still developing their rugby brains and needed quite a lot of direction around game management and our squad identity. We set about fostering a culture with a second to no-one approach when we train, and play, and a mindset of developing a ‘best of the best’ mentality in everything we do. This year, I now have a whole bunch of boys who have evolved as leaders so instead of it being coach driven, we put it back on our players – ‘What’s our culture/identity?’ – and I couldn’t have scripted it better in terms of what they see as important for us as a squad. When I arrived, there was a bit of an ‘us and them’ mentality between grades but now we have strong unity as a club and there is a ‘Norths’ mentality first and foremost. We play and train for each other.”

Key Areas of Improvement needed:

“There were some weaknesses defensively last year, mostly defensively, so we’ve worked on that and also on advancing our set-piece. We’re definitely ahead of where we were this time last year. The stuff that we’ve been coaching over the last 12 months is done and the boys can do it all so much better, so we’re really now working on a bit more x-factor and innovation in the way that we do things. Last year was a really heavy load of coaching the basics, whereas now, we can start to become a bit more innovative and come up with some new ideas that we couldn’t introduce in 2015. It’s exciting and there’s a real buzz between the playing group and the coaching staff, which is great.”

New Sensations:

“I’m really looking forward to having James Brown for a full year this year, he’s a really good trainer and really easy to coach. To be honest, I’m kind of excited about a lot of our guys from last year and what they could potentially do in 2016, off the back of another year of experience and the growth of their rugby brains.”

 What are your hopes/expectations for the Shoremen in 2016?

“Sometimes last year, I thought ‘I need to give input here’ when things weren’t going well, but I feel much more confident in the decisions the players are going to make out there now, and that makes us a much stronger side. I want to win every game and I’m desperately disappointed whenever we lose, so as a group, I do set the bar high. My expectation is that we compete to win, and if we can do that every week, we’ll be there in the fight at the end.”