For most of the CSU NSW Country Eagles, the start of the season was all about meeting new teammates and new coaching staff. But for some, these relationships had already been forged and were simply in a different setting.
Such was the case for CSU Country Eagles coach Darren Coleman and winger Charlie Clifton.
Coleman was head coach of Sydney club Eastern Suburbs in 2015 while Clifton was club captain.
Whilst Easts had a disappointing season, finishing tenth, the pair certainly enjoyed working together.
“I’m completely over him now,” Coleman joked.
“No, Charlie’s a good player, he really wants to do well, gives 100% in everything whether it’s training or on the field. The boys really feed of his enthusiasm.”
“As a coach and player relationship we are as strong as any.”
Now with both at the Eagles their relationship is strong as ever.
“We’ve carried along pretty similar to easts,” Clifton said.
“He’d be pretty sick of my ridiculous chat but I know how he works as a coach, which is very helpful.”
“When he came to Easts this year he brought a huge amount of professionalism, so that hasn’t changed much now going to the eagles.”
Clifton’s step up to the burnt orange Eagles jersey has been eased by his coach, however it’s still been an exciting change for the Bathurst born Beastie.
“The speed is a huge difference, I’m hoping to cross the line a few times because it’s a pretty expansive game in the NRC so as a winger we should get a fair bit of ball.”
“The intensity across the park with super rugby players out there will definitely be a challenge but a lot of fun.”
Rugby has never been about being the best for Clifton, but with a number of Super Rugby selectors watching every NRC game, the speedster will be giving it his all.
“I’ll definitely be taking it very seriously and having a crack.”
“Rugby for me is all about meeting new people and having a good time, so that’s a huge part of it, but if someone came knocking on my door with an offer I wouldn’t turn it back that’s for sure.”
A spot in the Eagles wouldn’t have been in Clifton’s wildest dreams at his first training session in Sydney.
The St Stanislaus graduate moved from Bathurst to Sydney once school had finished and joined Eastern Suburbs Rugby Club without knowing anyone.
Quickly making friends Clifton played 2 seasons of colts before making his way up he ranks in the grade competition.
The now club captain has a lot to owe to his beloved club.
“When I arrived there I had never done any professional training like the Sydney Private schoolboys, so working through the grades I learnt plenty very quickly.”
“I love it there, for me personally I think it’s the best club you can be at in Sydney.”