There’s no hiding the fact that 2017 will be a new era for the Aussie Men’s Sevens, after farewelling 10 of their 2016 squad members, and it starts this weekend on the Central Coast.
Australia has lots more than 100 caps of World Series experience in the off-season and coach Andy Friend said they were ready to see a new generation of players, with none of Allan Fa’alava’au, Con Foley, Cam Clark, Pama Fou, Sam Figg, Nick Cummins, Quade Cooper, Frank Winterstein, Henry Speight, Tom Cusack featuring in 2016-17.
“We’ve lost some experienced campaign, probably close to 150 caps, so a lot of experience left,” he said.
“That was always going to be the case, after you finish an Olympic campaign but we’ve known that’s coming and these guys need to step up and we need to fill that void.”
There’ll be a familiar name running out alongside the 11 fit top-line players on the Central Coast this weekend, with Charlotte Caslick’s brother Sam, in the Aussie Men Gold 1 side.
The competition will be a chance for some up and comers to put one hand on a Sevens contract, with the squad yet to be entirely locked down for the 2016-17 World Series.
This is Friend’s first full season at the helm, after taking over in January this year, midway through the 2015-16 World Series, and said he wanted to see his side build on the progress they’ve made since then.
“I think we’re on the right track, we just need more time doing what we’re doing,” he said.
“We need some more Detail into what we’re doing and having time and longevity in the program of drilling that and automatic.
“We thought we made some real progress last year but at the same time, the longer we have with this new group the better that’s going to be for us.
“The only other area focus on as a group is our leadership and the players starting to be tough on each other.”
The Central Coast Sevens men’s and women’s competitions kick off on Saturday, with some stiff competition for the Aussies, with a number of Fiji’s gold medal winning side making the trip south.
Aussie Men’s Gold 1
Ed Jenkins, Sam Myers, Conor Mitchell, Tom Connor, Tim Anstee, Stephan Van Der Walt, Simon Kennewell, James Stannard, Josh Coward, Brandon Quinn, Tom Kingston, Sam Caslick
Aussie Men’s Gold 2
Maclean Jones, Brendan Mitchell, Bennett Leslie, Fred Dorrough, Liam McNamara, Charlie Taylor, Mitch Felsman, Joey Fittock, Richard Woolf, George Morseu, Sam Croke, Mataiasi Naivaru
Aussie Women’s Gold
Shannon Parry, Maddie Elliot, Shanice Parker, Brooke Walker, Emma Tonegato, Paige McGregor, Charlotte Caslick, Chloe Dalton, Brooke Anderson, Shenae Ciesiolka
Aussie Women’s Green
Hannah Southwell, Sharni Williams, Georgie Friedrichs, Jayme Fressard, Dominque Du Toit, Mahalia Murphy, Samantha Hopkin, Emma Skyes, Millie Boyle Alicia Quirk, Emilee Cherry