Giddings to usher through next gen Blues

Jack Giddings will coach the Tumut Blues under 16s side and continue in his role of Tumut Minor League coaching coordinator in 2022.

In more good news for the Tumut Blues rugby league community, Jack Giddings has elected to stay on as both the Tumut Blues under 16s Sullivan Cup coach and the Tumut Minor League Coaching Coordinator in 2022.

Giddings, a local product and former Blues first-grader, has enjoyed a successful coaching career, which includes stints with the Canberra Raiders coaching squad and leading the Monaro representative side to a Country Championship.

The role of Coaching Coordinator is important to Giddings, who believes good coaching is the platform for success and a positive rugby league experience.

“I like the job and Bake (Brad Baker) is the one that convinced me to do it, because I coached this year’s 16s as 15s,” Giddings said.

“The role is not so important for the Minny and Mod leagues, because the coaches are just having a lot of fun, but it is important for the 14s and 15s, where the kids are going into international footy and for the coaches to get together and talk about how they are going to coach the kids.

“It helps establish good coaching habits and I enjoy it, and I get to talk to people and it’s a lot of fun.”

Giddings has been an integral member of Tumut Minor League and the Blues, helping nurture the next generation of Tumut rugby league players.

Most recently, the veteran coach led this year’s under 16s Tumut side to the Group 9 finals before the season was cut short, and he believed a solid foundation would give this group a chance to progress again next year when playing under 18s. 

“I think this year’s under 16s is a good example of what we can achieve in a year,” Giddings said. 

“We only had 14 registered and we used 15s when we could, but we went from bad losses to some really good results. 

“Once their rugby league IQ’s improved, they were better by the end of the year and they managed to make it into the playoffs.

“We could see the improvement, and that is why it is important that these kids are so well coached, and you will see how much those kids improve when they progress into 17s.

“They have accepted it is a learning process, and that it is important for them to understand their roles in games and that it is also important to be smart, skilful and fit.”

Giddings is looking forward to the 2022 crop of under 16s players, and while numbers were again thin, he was confident he had a strong playing group to work with.

“I know the kids quite well because last year I was the Coaching Coordinator for Tumut Minor League and four of the kids came up and helped the under 16s,” Giddings said. 

“They gave been well looked after and Bake has done a good job with them. He has looked after them since they were midgets and they are a good little group. 

“Cal Rossiter, Brock Baker, Lachlan Breed and Eric Pearce all played in the 16s there last year and they will be better for that and we have a couple of big middles that will help us a lot.”

Giddings didn’t shy away from the fact that it was a big step up from under 15s to 16s, but he stressed that it would be a fun environment where players would be given the tools to handle a tougher brand of rugby league.

“It will be a little bit different and it will be a step up on what it is expected from them individually and as a team,” Giddings said. 

“It will be a lot of fun and I think the boys that stepped up this year enjoyed playing and training, and the feedback was good, and I think the group will enjoy the season.”

The Sullivan Cup coach was hopeful a few new players would turn out for the Blues in 2022.

“It will be like this year. We will be short on numbers and they were relying on 15s to play up,” Giddings said.

“One of the things that will work for us is that Tommy (Jeffery) will have a big squad and we may rely on a few bottom age kids in that group playing down.

“I also understand that Gundagai won’t have under 16s either, and hopefully we can get a few of our diplomats to get them to loan us a few kids so they are keen to keep playing footy.”

Giddings did have a message for potential players who were considering joining the Blues under 16s next season.

“The Tumut Blues are a great club, they have a good culture and they have good coaches,” Giddings said. 

“The young men that you play with and the experiences you have; they will create lifelong friendships and memories.

“I’m a local kid. I played in two under 18s grand finals and won one and lost won and I made my first-grade debut as a teenager and they are memories that will stay with me. 

“Rugby league is a challenging sport, and it’s good for your character and we welcome any new players wanting to try it out, or are wanting to get back involved.”