By Letteisha Bensley
Despite unpredictable weather, the Rugby players put up a strong, battle wearied front to showcase the best of what the ClubsNSW Academy Games is all about. With numbers on the field low; you still could not get past the undeniable sense of mateship and community that the sport created.
Sports have always played a major part of the Australian culture, and Rugby Union is up there as one of Australia’s top international sports. Australians have always been known for their ability to play a good hard game, while maintaining a good sense of sportsmanship and mateship. These values are exactly what the Academy Games is teaches our young up and coming sportspeople.
The Games are a great opportunity for the youth of today to express themselves through their chosen sport. It provides the players with the opportunity to improve their skills and have a great time with other athletes.
The Academy is a gateway for young players to climb to the top of the ladder. It gives them access to some of the best sporting knowledge and inspirational leaders of today.
Illawarra's Captain, Bailey Antrobus explained that the code of Rugby Union allows you to play sport at an international level. “You get to travel to places like Japan, and South Africa,” he said.
Even in the soggy conditions, the teams splayed some incredible Rugby. “They played well today, and Bailey especially,” said Illawarra’s coach, Tony Leeder- Smith. The Games also give a lot to the boys in terms of development. Mark Antrobus, Bailey's dad, described what the Games have to offer the players; “It has given him some structure and also it's the added on stuff of the health and information sessions, they do get a bit out of that.”
On the field the sense of mateship is a key factor to the game. Bailey said his passion for the sport came from when some of his friend asked him to play. Bailey's father agreed, adding that it’s the interaction and experience, and an interest that gets them off the street. “In sport out of court, that's the way you look at it,” he explained.
The experience that the Games offer the players is the chance of a lifetime. It has provided a great opportunity to create a bond between a group of people; while offering a community a strong sense of mateship.