When you hear hooker Dave Porecki talk about the Waratahs, the love and respect for the playing group is obvious.
Even on a crackling phone line cutting in and out thanks to a December storm, his passion comes through clear as day.
“I feel pretty passionate about these groups of boys,” an open and honest Porecki told Rugby.com.au. “The way they have had last year and still develop, that’s the main thing I want from this young squad, I just want us to keep developing week on week.
“I won't lie it was tough last year having the media interviews and you can’t go in there and rinse everyone and you don’t really want to because you still want to stay tight as a group and that’s the main thing.
“There are so many more elements that go into a Rugby program being successful than what media or the fans see. There’s so many layers, look at the Crusaders, they have had years to build this solid foundation and I think that’s the most exciting thing about Darren (Coleman) is he’s now had time to implement his plan.
“I’m sure that plan will tweak each year on year but he’s got the benefit of time on his side which is invaluable in this environment.”
Porecki returned home midway through 2020 from London Irish, joining a side going through a significant rebuild under Rob Penney.
Penney was thrust into the position abruptly after the sudden departure of Daryl Gibson, eventually departing the role in March this year.
The 29-year-old was sympathetic with the departed coach, however, believes Darren Coleman has the necessary time to build the young roster into contenders over the coming years.
"I think he just brings a level of accountability than coaches the Tahs have seen in past,” Porecki believes Coleman brings to the group.
“I don’t want to talk badly about past coaches and people because I still rate them very highly but I think the time when they caught the Tahs like Rob (Penney) last year, when I rocked up apparently he didn’t have time to implement his gameplan so he was very much working on the run as we were playing games which is so difficult.
“The positive with Darren is he’s had such a long time to come in, implement his plan, change this culture and make it the Waratahs he sees to be successful and implement it that way. He’s also had the benefit of time and also the group that we have having an extra year under their belt which is so invaluable because last year, a lot of the youth was called onto this squad and as they age and grow together, it’s only going to be better."
Having played around the world, it's Coleman's accountability and attention to detail that stands out for Porecki in a team slowly building connections and a family-type atmosphere.
“We’ve also got a coach which has the values I love. In my previous clubs overseas, it’s definitely a lot more similar in the way that he’s accountable, he makes sure everyone knows their roles exactly. His attention to detail is spot on," he notes.
“I’m not going to talk us up because you’re not going to see anything until we have a couple of trial games but the foundations are set to have hopefully more of a successful year than last year but it’s a project.
“The element of time for this group, we haven’t had many leavers and we haven’t had a lot of joiners, but the joiners that have come fit the system so well. The people that have stayed, we starting to learn a lot more about each other, on and off the field, which only helps.
"If you know people, teammates like they’re family, you are always going to play harder for them.
“On top of that, when you get someone in as the top dog so detail-focused and so focussed about everyone being accountable for their own job, that actually sets the scene for a real successful foundation and environment for us to continue to grow.
“That’s the main thing, it’s not a one year next year win the cup, it’s a developing project that we will continue to build year on year. (Coleman’s) just brought this element of what is a true professional in this game and what you need to do to be successful in this league.”
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After a tough 2021 campaign, the Waratahs young guns are slowly learning what it's like to be a professional player in probably the toughest way possible.
However, reinforcements in Hooper, Jed Holloway and Ned Hanigan arriving for the inaugural Super Rugby Pacific season.
Along with this, players like Angus Bell, Lachie Swinton and Izaia Perese have become regulars in the Wallabies set-up.
Porecki believes this will only be good for the side as they find that balance ahead of 2022.
“You can all the appreciation in the world for being a professional player but sometimes it takes a couple of years of experience to actually understand what it takes to be a professional rugby player or what it takes to be competitive week on week, everything it takes to be a professional you don’t learn that as a first year player,” Porecki added.
“It’s still a balancing act for the younger players but they understand better because they’re gone through the tough times last year and we all understand, especially the first and second-year players, what it takes to perform and compete.
“When you intertwine more experience and quality world-class players in this environment, it’s only going to help us grow. We need to continue to grow, develop and having those types of boys with those type of calibre.
“In saying that, you have Hoops and Ned (Hanigan) who are a bit older but you’ve got someone like Angus Bell, who just turned 21 and we talk about him like he’s an experienced mature International. He’s still only 21 but he’s had that game experience, that experience in that professional world-class environment to understand what it takes to perform and I think those attributes in a player, regardless of age, is amazing for a team.”