Tumut Blues under 18’s coach Jack Giddings, has enjoyed an auspicious career in rugby league and will now be able to add head coach of the Group Nine under 18’s to that list.
Giddings was recently selected to lead the Group Nine under 18 representative side, nurturing some of the best up and coming talent in the area including some of Tumut’s own juniors.
But it isn’t the first time Giddings has been in charge of a special team having served as part of the Canberra Raiders coaching squad and leading the Monaro representative side to a country championship.
But before Giddings picked up a coaching handbook, he was a Tumut Blues junior with a knack for finding the try line playing in the centers before making his first-grade debut for the club as a teenager.
And while enjoying a small stint playing first grade in the Canberra competition, Giddings was persuaded to try his hand at coaching where his successful career began.
“A mate of mine who was the coaching and development manager at the Raiders encouraged me to get involved in coaching which I did,” Giddings said.
“That sort of started me, from there on I coached Mathews cup and had three years with the senior club as an assistant to Tim Sheens.”
And it was at the Raiders where Giddings, alongside another slightly successful coach called Craig Bellamy, won one of his most memorable premierships.
“I had some great success coaching the Canberra Raiders junior reps, it was really great,” he said.
“I coached the Jersey Flegg to a premiership, that was a very good team.
“And then two years later I was assistant to Craig Bellamy with the same group of kids and they won the premiership.”
The foundation of Giddings coaching skills came from his extended career as a footballer.
A serious injury kept him off the park for most of his 20’s, but Giddings played right into his 40s after shifting from the centers into the back row learning the ins-and-outs of the game along the way.
Now back at the club where his football career began as a junior, Giddings is enjoying his time back at the Blues.
“It’s still very enjoyable,” Giddings said.
“It’s really great to be in my home town, I look around and see some of the older guys around town that I played football with as a kid.
“I remember my debut for Tumut first grade, I scored a try in the ambulance street corner.”
But one of the biggest claims to fame for the former Tumut High School team captain was the cultivation of one of the NRL’s former Clive Churchill Medalists.
“I always say my claim to fame was turning Luke Priddis into a hooker,” he said.
“Luke played in the halves and was struggling to get recognition and I said I think he’s a hooker.
“So we started working on him and that’s where he finished up.”
And now Giddings will be using his experience and skills when he takes over the Group Nine under 18’s representative side.
“I really enjoy the 18s,” he said.
“There’s some outstanding talent in the team and there are certainly some talented individuals like Jacob Sturt and Tate O’Donovan.
“If you get the group to join up and sign on to what you’re trying to do, your jobs just about done.”