Dwyer revels in surprise turnaround - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dwyer revels in surprise turnaround

22/11/2002 06:28:15 AM Comments (0)

Seven players of the NSW rugby union training squad have been recruited from rugby league and no one is less surprised at the reversal of player traffic between the two codes than Waratahs coach Bob Dwyer.

The Waratahs added high profile players Lote Tuqiri and Nathan Blacklock and former Shark's reserve grader Luke McGoldrick to a contingent which last season included Mat Rogers, Duncan McCrae, Paul Sheedy and Milton Thaiday.

While most of the seven players had some junior experience of union, all were recruited from league.

Together, they comprised around 15 per cent of the Waratahs contracted list of 49 players, a figure that would have seemed inconceivable to many people a few years ago when the inter-code traffic usually went in the other direction.

Dwyer however, was not in the least bit surprised by the reversal in traffic between the two rugby codes which has occurred since union went professional in the mid 1990s.

"In 1992, I wrote in my book that this would happen", Dwyer said.

"I said that I lived for the day when a Kangaroo (rugby league) team returns from a tour and we read in the papers that two of their stars have signed to play rugby union and lo and behold ...," Dwyer said, referring to last year when Rogers and Wendell Sailor switched codes.

While Blacklock and Tuqiri each attained rugby league's stardom on the wing Dwyer felt each could play in the centres at some stage.

McGoldrick, who's impressive frame has earned him the nickname "Zeus", is a specialist centre, who partnered Wallaby Steve Kefu in that area during his time in the Queensland schoolboys rugby union team.

While far less well known than Tuqiri and Blacklock, McGoldrick has earned big notices from Dwyer who compared his leg speed and ability to stand up players to legendary Wallaby centre Tim Horan.

Approaching his third year in charge of NSW, Dwyer said the Waratahs had "the makings of an outstandingly good squad".

He said NSW had re-contracted more players than it had ever done before while also signing its largest number of new youngsters.

Of the 49 players either on a full contract or signed to the Waratah Academy, Dwyer said 24 were no older than 22 years-old.

"We have a young squad, so overall we should be a developing squad, how much we develop this year is in the lap of the gods," Dwyer said.

With NSW making the Super 12 semi-finals for the first time this year, Dwyer said expectations were higher within the squad as well as outside.

"In terms of our performance, I think we've gained in confidence and I think we can play good rugby," Dwyer said.

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