Persistent rain did little to dampen the enthusiasm of a group of youngsters from throughout the Great Lakes, Manning, Gloucester and Port Macquarie participating in the Mid North Coast Junior Rugby Camp.
Held last weekend at Aub Ferris Fields, Nabiac, more than 20 rugby enthusiasts aged from eight to 16 years attended the two day event of development and growth under the guidance of Rugby Appeal head coach, Nick McCamley.
When the rain slowed down and the words "game time" were heard in was back onto the field to put into practice what had been learned.
Each and every participant grew in confidence, ability and respect for others, Lower Mid North Coast Junior Rugby president. Aaron Dodds said.
Understanding the importance of a supporting team, in attack and defence, knowing your strength and ability, knowing your role, shifting, getting low, catching early, good communication, getting into position, running lines, getting creative, and turning defense into attacking defense, was part of the game plan.
"The enthusiasm I witnessed from the juniors in attendance gave me goosebumps, the passion to train in all weather conditions and the professionalism from the camp coaches was nothing less than 10/10," Mid North Coast Rugby representative, Arthur Chapman said.
"A great job and well done to Aaron Dodds and his team."
Dodds described his job assisting McCamley throughout the weekend as an honour.
"As a coach I learnt so much," he said.
"Wow, what a weekend. 10 hours, 80mm plus of rain, 23 kids, two coaches and a lot of fun.Nick McCamley
"In particular the importance of knowing each body joint, its role, loading it, training at more intensity to get the best outcome; I loved the attacking defensive drills, I can't wait to see the participants put into action in coming weeks at the Mid North Coast Junior Rugby Representative Trials at Crescent Head."
Also assisting was rising rugby star, Lucy Green who supported each player to get the best results.
"The inclusion of Lucy meant we could work on running clean lines, attacking at pace and more," Dodds said.
Lucy said: "I had a great time and learnt so much. The main thing I learnt was how to defend a big overlap. I thought that was really interesting and I'd never been shown how to do that before and I think it will be really useful, thanks again."
"Wow, what a weekend. 10 hours, 80mm plus of rain, 23 kids, two coaches and a lot of fun," McCamley said.
"It was certainly for me a very humbling and refreshing experience running this clinic in Nabiac, a town where there is no local competition.
"Hearing the sacrifice parents and players make to play rugby union was certainly something very motivating and grounding for me.
"The way the players listened intently, hanging on to every word that came out of my mouth, right up until the final whistle blew was something I rarely experience.
"Seeing boys and girls execute a skill after a quick demonstration and a chat and then put it into a game later in the day is simply why I coach.
"From the way they place the ball, to how they catch to what leg to aim for when tackling, these kids nailed every part of the course."
McCamley gave Dodds a big shoutout for his tireless organisational skills and support.
"Your passion for the game, this area, and the kids is incredible. We certainly need more people like you in the game. I look forward to working with you closely in the coming months/years."
Zone referee, past player and father, Mick Wooster said: "Very impressed with Aaron and Nick, on how the weekend was run. Great intensity of training, big focus on respect on the field and off the field. William had a great time said he learnt about body height and positioning as well as tracking in defence and is keen to do more."
Lucas said he "enjoyed improving his skills and fitness" Lucas's father said he spoke about rugby the whole way home to Port Macquarie and wished he could have attended both days. I was surprised more people didn't take up the opportunity to receive high level coaching so close to home. Thanks again Nick and Aaron
According to parent, Kayla Jory, the McCamley ran a well organised, event with high quality coaching which included all ages.
"On behalf of the Lower Mid North Coast junior rugby union, we highly recommend Nick from Rugby Appeal and will be asking for him to come back soon."
The Lower Mid North Coast Junior Rugby, will now be encouraging and assisting clubs to run Come Try Rugby or Get Into Rugby with the goal for each club to be running games prior to senior games on a Saturday and dreams to build a weekly competitive tournament.
Mid North Coast Juniors and Maitland Juniors Rugby will hold a free gala day at Maitland on March 27, while the Mid North Coast Rugby representative trials will be held on March 7.
Get in touch with Aaron on 0408 481 048 for more details.
Stay ahead with local news by signing up for the Great Lakes Advocate newsletter here.