2017 Season Preview: Brumbies

By Pete Fairbairn, 21.02.17

In preparation for the 2017 Super Rugby season, which kicks off this Thursday, RUPA are running the rule over a big year for each of the Australian teams; on and off the pitch!

With the assistance of Player Development Manager (PDM) Robin Duff, here’s what to look out for at the Brumbies as they aim to again top the Australian conference.

2016 RUPA Camp Attendees:

Tom Banks, Ben Hyne, Jordan Jackson-Hope, Faalelei Sione, Rob Valetini

2016 RUPA Awards Winners:
Christian Leali’ifano (RUPA Medal For Excellence)

2017 Recruits:

Chris Alcock, Tom Banks, Tom Cusack, Anthony Fainga’a, Saia Fainga’a, Lolo Fakaosilea, Kyle Godwin, Wharenui Hawera, Ryan Lonergan, Nic Mayhew, Faalelei Sione, Rob Valetini

Most Impressive Newcomer:

“The Brumbies have welcomed quite a few new players this year and they have brought a real enthusiasm to the whole environment,” Duff says. “As is the way at the Brumbies, all settled in immediately and are now just ‘part of the furniture’.

“The Brumbies players are terrific at making new players feel comfortable and become part of the close-knit player group. regardless of where they have come from. Our contingent who have arrived from within other Super Rugby environments are loving being in the blue, gold and white; two of them (Lolo Fakaosilea and Anthony Fainga’a) have even added to the Brumbies family since being here by becoming fathers of beautiful baby girls – congratulations fellas!

“Canberra-born new signings Tommy Cusack, Faalelei Sione, Jordan Jackson-Hope and Ryan Lonergan are living their childhood dreams of becoming a Brumby. ‘Futs’ Hawera has added some Kiwi flair (and some challenging moments for anyone trying to pronounce his name) while Benny Hyne keeps everyone laughing with his quick wit and repartee.”

It’s going to be a big year off the field for:

“It’s hard to single out players, but it’s going to be a big year for Jimmy Dargaville,” Robin says. “He will achieve the astonishing feat of completing his Civil Engineering degree at Sydney University while resident in Canberra (and in the process making his parents very happy).

“It’s also a very exciting time for Robbie Abel, Aidan Toua and Andrew Smith. who will be adding to their families with babies pending.”

Describe your team’s leadership:

“We have Co-captains this year in Sam Carter, who will be taking the reins on-field, and Christian Leali’ifano, who will be the major off-field leader, mentor, and assistant coach. They are both loving their roles and doing an exceptional job,” Robin says.

“While all players are encouraged to be leaders in their own way, special mention needs to be made of some of our ‘seniors’. Bongo (Josh Mann-Rea), Benny Alexander and Scott Fardy are never backwards in providing valuable feedback, while Henry ‘Silky’ Speight and Scotty Sio are terrific leaders within our Pasifika contingent and Aidan ‘Dos’ Toua provides a calming influence throughout the player group.”

What role are you playing to support the players to perform at their best?

“My role is one of ‘off-field’ support in whatever way that is needed,” she says. “The players are all different with what this means for them, and one size definitely does not fit all.

“It is tremendously important for now and the future that their lives are not 100% Rugby-focussed, and that they don’t only see themselves as ‘Rugby players’. There is no doubt that having a balance helps players perform at their best and I really enjoy supporting them to achieve this.”

List of those enrolled in study:

- Robbie Abel - Certificate IV Youth Work, Level 2 Coaching
- Allan Alaalatoa - Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice
- Ben Alexander - MBA
- Tom Banks – Bachelor of Business (Finance)
- Jarrad Butler - Bachelor of Business and Commerce
- Sam Carter - Bachelor of Business and Commerce
- Tomas Cubelli - Bachelor of Architecture
- Tom Cusack - Bachelor of Applied Business (Management)
- James Dargaville - Bachelor of Civil Engineering
- Blake Enever - Bachelor of Business and Commerce, Level 2 Coaching
- Wharenui Hawera - Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science
- Jordan Jackson-Hope - Bachelor of Applied Business (Management)
- Nick Jooste - Bachelor of Business and Commerce
- Ryan Lonergan - Bachelor of Applied Business (Management)
- Nic Mayhew - Bachelor of Business (Property)
- Joe Powell - Bachelor of Applied Business (Management)
- Scott Sio - Bachelor of Business and Commerce
- Faalelei Sione - Bachelor of Applied Business (Management)
- Jordan Smiler - Certificate IV Youth Work, Level 2 Coaching
- Tom Staniforth - Bachelor of Construction Management (Building), ACT Real Estate Licence
- Aidan Toua - Bachelor of Applied Business (Management), Level 2 Coaching

Home Games:

- Saturday 4th March vs. Sharks
- Friday 10th March vs. Western Force
- Saturday 25th March vs. Highlanders
- Saturday 8th April vs. Queensland Reds
- Sunday 30th April vs. Blues
- Friday 12th May vs. Lions
- Saturday 3rd June vs. Melbourne Rebels

For more information on the Brumbies, including player profiles, membership, tickets, merchandise and news, head to their official website.

Pete Fairbairn
Communications Manager
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