A premiership winning flyhalf and a mentor with an envious record – they are two men CSU coach Luke Kelly hopes can inspire his players as they fight for a spot in the New Holland Cup finals.
Anthony Begg, the flyhalf who guided CSU to premiership glory in 2004 and also represented both Central West and NSW Country, is offering Kelly a helping hand as the students look to crack the top four.
And Kelly also has Dave Conyers on deck to help, the former CSU coach fresh from working at the European Championships in Sarjevo.
“We are quite lucky because Dave Conyers is back in town for six weeks, so he’s going to help me coach, it’s great,” Kelly said.
“We’ve also got Anthony Begg to help us out, premiership winner, and funnily enough, small world, Cons actually coached Beggsy to the ’04 premiership. Now they are both here helping me.”
The experience and knowledge Begg and Conyers can pass on will be a huge asset to the students, who are just one point outside the top five with three rounds remaining.
Wins over Blayney (22-14) and Mudgee (55-33) in consecutive weeks have kept CSU in contention and the brand of rugby they are producing is certainly giving both Kelly and the players confidence they can qualify for the finals.
Improved discipline and better structure in defence combined with the natural talent and speed of their back line has been a successful mix. It is something Kelly wants to see again on Saturday when his men take on the Dubbo Rhinos in Dubbo.
“We’ve worked on our all-round discipline, we were giving away too many penalties across the park and had teams just marching up the field on us. So I’ve asked them to show better discipline all round, it’s being accountable for your own individual discipline the whole 80 minutes,” he said.
“It’s having the confidence that the bloke beside you is going to make the tackle rather than have that all or nothing go for the pilfer attitude. It’s trusting your inside and outside man, being patient and wait for the other team to make the mistake.
“We blew Rhinos out last time [42-14], but there is no way that will happen this time, they lift at home every single time, they are a much better team at home. We know that, so there will be no complacency.
“We just need to back ourselves and our strengths, we think our strengths outweigh theirs, so that gives us confidence. If we can identify a weakness out there, we also need to exploit it.
“We haven’t put together three wins not just this season, but any season in recent memory to be honest. So it would be nice to do that, we need to be up for this game, we must, must win this game.”
Kick-off in Dubbo is at 3.15pm.
CSU: 1 Paul Lasalo, 2 Linc Scott, 3 Marcus Burrell, 4 Jimmy Ostini, 5 Kam Norris, 6 Aidan Kennelly, 7 Xander Bennett, 8 Fale Liva, 9 Charlie Mansfield, 10 Nick Plunkett, 11 Harry Hunt, 12 Jack Keppel, 13 Regan Hughes, 14 Fraser McCormack, 15 Lochie Robinson.