Throughout the 2016 Buildcorp NRC, bloggers from each of the eight teams have been writing exclusively for the Rugby Union Players’ Association (RUPA) website.
Western Sydney Rams scrumhalf Scott Gale moved to Sydney for this competition, after his contract at the Queensland Reds wasn’t renewed for the 2017 Super Rugby campaign.
He wrote for us back before Round One about how he wanted to use this competition to prove he has what it takes for another franchise to sign him up next year, and now he returns to reflect on the Rams’ season thus far.
They’re yet to win a game, but have won plenty of admirers for the way they’re playing their footy and have earned a losing bonus point in each of their last three clashes, against some of the competition’s front-runners. This week, Gale tells us why his side are keeping the faith in their ability to win, and he looks forward to coming face to face with his old side Queensland Country on Saturday.
Scott Gale - In His Own Words, NRC Round Five:
I’m really enjoying my time in Sydney with the Rams so fa, and although we haven’t had a win yet the mood in the squad is still really positive. We have been within a try at full time in each our last three games, and we are really keen to get that first win on the board.
The reality is that we really think we should have won those matches, and there is a frustration there that we are creating so many opportunities and then only converting less than half of them. In saying that, we also know that we can do it if we keep on improving and win the important moments in matches and the group is determined to finish games off well and enjoy the rewards of that.
(Head Coach John Muggleton) Muggo is of the opinion that we’re losing games upstairs and mentally rather than actually on the field, where we’ve been able to match and even surpass some teams with our physicality and our skills. That mental aspect of it; being able to play consistently for the full 80 minutes, and winning those big moments, is where we need to improve.
We have gone into every game with real confidence and belief that we can take it to the opposition and win.
As a group, we have definitely come together really quickly and become close, and I think losing by such small margins is just bringing us even closer; it’s really driving us towards achieving that first win, which will be great when we do achieve it.
For me personally, after a few years with the Reds it is really different being in a new program. Working with different coaches and having new, different teammates, as well as living in a different city has been really good for me. I believe that no matter what city I am in, and whether I’m at training or in a game, it’s all the same when I cross those white lines; it’s a game of footy with 15 v 15 and the best team getting the win on the day.
I’m still living with some family and they’ve made it easy and pretty cruisy to settle in. I’ve also started studying online rather than on campus up in Queensland, so I chip away at that when I’m not at training. We have three training sessions a week, on a Monday, Tuesday and Thursday night, and then we look after our own gym stuff on top of that so it’s still a fair commitment to keep your body in shape and keep your focus on the field.
I’ve enjoyed getting to know my new teammates and spending time with a few of the guys from the team socially. I’ve been hanging out with Paul Asquith, Waldo Wessels, Matt Gibbon and Mitch Walton a fair bit; the Southern Districts boys.
We’ve played a bit of golf, and they’re showing me around the Shire as well. They’ve taken me down to some of the pubs in Cronulla to watch the Sharks’ games, and the atmosphere down there for that is pretty amazing; I’m looking forward to heading down and getting amongst it again on Friday night for their NRL Preliminary Final.
This weekend we’re up against Queensland Country, my old team and the only other team yet to have a win this year. There’s going to be no shortage of physicality and commitment; attitude won’t be an issue for either team as we each fight for our first victory. From a Rams perspective, our preparation hasn’t been at all different to any other week and everybody is excited to try and chalk up that first win.
(Queensland Country backs) Mack Mason, Duncan Paia’aua, Izaia Perese and James Tuttle are guys I have spent a lot of time training and playing with at the Reds, and then against in Club footy in Brisbane as well, but Muggo hasn’t really asked me for any extra information about them. He’s a stickler for focusing on our game, but there’s not too much you can really give away anyways to be fair. They’re a good side and they have such a dangerous backline so it’s going to be really interesting to see how it goes down.
I really enjoyed playing against Brisbane City and a lot of my former Reds teammates, so I would say I will enjoy it again this time around as well. It was a little odd sitting next to Nick Frisby at a scrum and we were looking at each other a little strangely, but I enjoyed the opportunity to take on my mates and it will be good again on Saturday. My old housemate is (Queensland Country fullback) Tom Banks, so it will be good to play against him but then get to spend some time together after full time.
2016 Buildcorp NRC, Round Five (all times local):
- NSW Country Eagles vs. Perth Spirit, 1:00pm Saturday September 24th, Endeavour Oval, Orange
- Western Sydney Rams vs. QLD Country, 3:00pm Saturday September 24th, Concord Oval, Sydney (LIVE on FOX Sports)
- Canberra Vikings vs. Melbourne Rising, 1:00pm Sunday September 25th, Viking Park, Canberra
- Brisbane City vs. Sydney Rays, 3:00pm Sunday September 25th, Ballymore, Brisbane (LIVE on FOX Sports)