During September, I completed work experience at the Melbourne Rebels Rugby Club. I was lucky to work closely with head of media, Chris Gattos, who gave me the opportunity to interview Melbourne Rebels U20’s coach and Melbourne Rising Assistant Coach- Craig McGrath. The report is linked below!
By: Anna Pavlou
Melbourne Rising Assistant Coach Craig McGrath is proud of his Under-20’s rising stars, who have stepped up against senior competition in the National Rugby Championship (NRC) this season.
McGrath, who is the Rebels U20s head coach, is impressed with the way the young guns have continued their development on the national stage.
“I’m really happy for those boys, having worked with a lot of them in the Under 20’s program, I’m really proud of what they’ve done and happy with the way they’re expressing themselves and wanting to play,” McGrath said.
The young Rising Squad held off a persistent Rams side at Harlequin Park last Sunday, notching up their first win of the 2017 season with a 41-31 victory.
The win comes off the back of solid performances from Semisi Tupou, who scored twice, along with Harrison Goddard, in his maiden NRC start, and Sione Tuipulotu scoring once.
Rob Leota returned for injury, while Ikapote Tupai and Mahe Vailanu continued to show promising signs for the Rising.
McGrath paid tribute to his apprentices, including homegrown product Tuipulotu who has lifted his game to a new standard this NRC season.
“Sione’s playing outstanding footy at the moment,” McGrath highlighted.
“I think it’s because we had a really good chat just before the competition started about mindset and backing himself which he’s done, so I’m really proud of him.”
Whilst they have impressed so far this season, McGrath knows there is much for the young men to continue to learn and build-on as the competition continues.
“We’re also of that mindset that, yes we are a young team but we’re still accountable for decisions we’re making on the field,” McGrath said.
The Melbourne Rising are back in action this weekend, taking on QLD Country, who sit second on the ladder with two wins against over state rivals Brisbane City and Sydney Rays.
McGrath said it’s important that the side maintains its momentum with another strong performance on Saturday on the Gold Coast.
“The boys are really looking forward to the challenge,” he said.
“I think going up there against some real names of Queensland rugby will be a really good challenge for the boys.”
Catch the livestream of the game via FoxSports.com.au.