QLD Premier Colts: New Dogs benefitting from old tricks
Photo: Mahliah Ivory
Michael Atkinson speaks to Wests Premier Colts coach, Daryl McNamara; an Irishman with a simple game plan that is reaping rewards.
While there has been a lot of focus on the renewed bite in the Dogs’ Premier Grade side, it has gone a bit under the radar that the club’s Premier Colts side is sitting at the top of the ladder with 10 wins and a solitary, one-point defeat.
At the head of this impressive charge is a coach who preaches a simple game plan and a strong focus on skill development to allow his players to grow into the types of soldiers who can think for themselves and play what’s in front of them.
Daryl McNamara is in his third year as part of the coaching team for Wests Premier Colts – his second as head coach – and it’s easy to see why the team has become successful under his tutelage.
“We put a huge emphasis on individual skill level,” revealed McNamara.
“Catch-pass, running lines, contact, set piece, and to be honest we still do it in every session.”
But even that style of coaching can’t deliver rewards on its own. Like all clubs, Wests had a focus on recruitment leading in to the new season, only they weren’t focused on trying to attract the hottest school rugby talent.
“We started back in October and we said, ‘Who are gunna (sic) be the people who are gunna (sic) fit in to what we’re trying to do?’” McNamara said.
“We have a lot of guys who played seconds at school and a sprinkling of guys who played firsts.”
“We didn’t just go after trying to get all the representative players because we knew we’d be going ‘cap-in-hand’ to some of these guys.”
“We don’t necessarily have the pull anymore; we may have had it years ago, in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s, but we had to sell it to people (this year).”
Judging by the results, McNamara could obviously sell ice to the eskimos because his side are clearly the dominant force in the competition.
They started the year facing the three clubs who’ve consistently had the strongest Colts programs in the past five years: University, Brothers and Sunnybank.
Wests walked away from those three games with two wins and their only loss of the season thus far, to the Dragons.
But as much as McNamara is in charge, he knows the success is the result of a team effort.
“Big credit has to go to (assistant coaches) Rob Sadler and Mick Tunny for their skill level and preparation,” said McNamara.
“It just goes to show that if you put time into the players, there is still a huge macro gain to be made if you put time in those areas of the game.”
The macro gain so far is the obvious standing of the team at the top of the ladder, backed up by the Colts 1 side sitting third in their respective competition.
“They’re going really well, as well,” said McNamara of the Colts 1 side.
“We do a lot of training as a group; our skill work, micro skills, and conditioning, we do it all together.”
“We obviously want to see that those guys that maybe aren’t starting, realise, ‘You are this close, and you need to be at this level to make sure there’s a nice seamless transition.”
And they will need to maintain that collective focus if they’re going to achieve the ultimate macro gain of a drought-breaking premiership.
But the thought of ultimate success won’t change McNamara’s simple coaching plan.
“We’re not changing a whole pile” revealed McNamara.
“Like we said from the start, if skill level is continuing to improve and we’re still getting better there, we’re not going away from that.”
The Bulldogs will take their skill to the field again tomorrow, looking for win number 11 this season in a top-of-the-table clash with University at St. Lucia.