Whilst over in Sydney, Saints have taken the opportunity to visit some of the country’s elite sporting environments to share best practice.
So far, staff from NRL clubs Penrith Panthers, Canterbury Bulldogs and Wests Tigers and soccer’s Western Sydney Wanderers FC have welcomed the club with open arms to discuss all aspects of their organisations, including facilities, medical and rehabilitation, junior and youth development programmes, club and game structures and coach development.
Saints Ian Talbot commented: “It was good to get to speak to some of the coaches and staff that are involved with young Australian players at a similar level to those at our club and in our development programmes, not only to re-inforce our work but to also gain new ideas that we will look at integrating into our systems at home.
“Over the years of the tours we have built up great relationships with clubs over here and we are grateful to Warren McDonnell and Andy Patmore (pictured) at the Bulldogs, Tyrone Collins at the Tigers and Jim Jones and Matt Cameron at the Panthers for giving up their time and openly sharing their best practice with us.”
Craig Richards added: “The way that we have been made so welcome at the clubs and they have been open to share their ideas has been quite refreshing. The player/coach development programmes and structures that are in place are similar to ours but there are obviously things that we can pick up and adopt to ensure that we continue to provide an outstanding environment for our players and coaches to develop and flourish.”
More visits are planned with Neil Kilshaw set to spend some time with wellbeing departments at NRL clubs and central headquarters.
“Player welfare is rapidly becoming an integral part of the overall wellness of player from youth development, their established stages of career and then through their transition out of a playing career and onto their next career path,” Neil said. “Opportunities to network with peers from the Southern Hemisphere are few and far between and we are grateful for the opportunity to witness other strategies, models and programs whilst sharing our own and reflecting on their effectiveness.”