Playing for Lane Cove Junior Rugby Union

With the season unfortunately being cut short again this year, we thought we would ask one of our senior players, Cormac Kelly, to tell us about his experience at our club. Cormac is in our Under 16s and he has had some great success as a junior rugby player. Thank you to Cormac for sharing what is a great reflection of his time at our club.  

What age did you start at Lane Cove Junior Rugby Union and how did you enjoy your first season?
What are some of your earliest memories?

I started playing in the under 9’s in 2014. I really enjoyed my first season as I had previously played soccer and dad had been trying to get me to try out rugby for ages, and once I did try it I enjoyed rugby a lot more due to the fact you could run with the ball and tackle. In the following year I was asked to be one of the nominated players eligible to play in both the blue and gold teams and was also told that that meant I had to play every game I was asked to play in. I remember the family having a rare weekend away in the Blue Mountains and then getting a call and rushing back for an early morning Sunday game at St. Ives. It ended up being great, though, because I played a lot of footy and when the golds missed out I got to play in a winning grand final with the blues (thanks to Glen Patterson who maybe stretched the truth when telling me I couldn’t refuse to play in any game in which I was asked to back up for the blues).
You’ve played for the club right up to the Under 16s. Tell us about why you’ve stayed at the club so long.
The club has been fantastic. Not only have I enjoyed playing in the regular competitions and met some fantastic friends, but the extra trips have been really enjoyable - exchange trips with Walcha, the visiting side from Cromwell NZ we played against in the u12’s (pictured) and especially the u14 tour to New Zealand which I think really did encourage a number of the boys to play on in the u15’s and U16’s.
The Under 14 team having breakfast with All Black Ryan Crotty.

You’ve made many Gordon Rep teams and have won 2 State Championship with Gordon in the Under 14s and Under 16s. That must be very satisfying. Tell us about those wins and about your experiences playing for Gordon Juniors.
I was very reluctant to try out for Gordon as I didn’t think I would be good enough, but Tim Reid talked me into it and I had my first experience playing for Gordon at the TAS tournament in Armidale in the U12’s. We made the final, but lost to Southern Districts. After that I made the team for the State Champs and it took a couple of years of losing to the (much) bigger teams before we finally won at Orange in the U14’s. The State Champs were cancelled in the U15’s because of Covid, but we managed to win again in the U16’s - just in time because a couple of weeks later Covid came back and the season ended up being cancelled unfortunately. It also meant that I missed out on playing for the NSWRU President’s XV in the regionals, though I did get to keep 2 jerseys (playing & training). I have thoroughly enjoyed my time playing for Gordon and meeting all of the boys from the other teams I play against for Lane Cove and playing with them for Gordon.
The state champs will be some of the most enjoyable but challenging rugby you’ll play. The days are pretty full on with normally 3-4 games of 20 minute halves. Although you’ll have great coaches and the other boys to keep you motivated and play your best rugby when it matters most. You’ll do a lot of activities with the other boys during and after the day such as this year in the 16’s, one of the Wahroonga boys brought his JBL party box for after games which the boys and coaches loved (though Bremner played a bit too much of beautiful girls by Sean Kingston). After the days are over the team might go to a beach to swim as a bit of a cool down.
Are there some people or coaches that have helped you with your rugby along the way?
Heaps - I’ve had the best coaching, initially from Hamish Mackay and Craig Shaw, Tim Reid, and then the two Nick Burts, senior and junior. Tim also helped out with the Gordon side this year which was coached by Will Bremner and Dom Easy, both Lane Cove old boys.
Do you have any advice for our Minis or young players to help them reach their goals or to get the most out of their rugby?
Just enjoy your rugby and keep at it. The more you play the more opportunities will come your way, but even if they don’t rugby is a healthy and enjoyable way to keep active and meet friends. It’s played all over the world, and you never know where playing rugby might take you!

What is the best thing about being part of Lane Cove Junior Rugby Union?
I know this sounds like a cliche answer but the Lane Cove community is definitely the best thing about Lane Cove Junior Rugby Union. Our club knows how to let the boys enjoy the game without putting unneeded pressure on their backs. Even if we didn’t play well one game the parents would still congratulate us for our efforts and tell us to get it back next week. The parents are always helping out doing activities such as running the canteen, touch judge, coaching and managing roles. Although it might seem to go unnoticed it's how the club stays alive. The club is also a good way to meet new people and develop a close friendship with them.