Stepping up: Nick Malouf praises growth of vice-captains Maurice Longbottom and Henry Hutchison

Australia faced off against Oceania at day three of the Oceania Sevens at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

Sevens captain Nick Malouf has praised the development of stars Maurice Longbottom and Henry Hutchison as they step up as leaders.

Coach Tim Walsh elevated the pair into the leadership squad as vice-captains with the pair embracing the responsibility that comes with it.

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“They have been outstanding,” Malouf said ahead of the Tokyo Games. “With them, it’s something that has happened pretty naturally. There’s a reason they have been handed those roles because of the way they have been carrying themselves on and off the park.

“The message that I’ve been giving them is to continue what they have been doing which is setting the standards really high and looking out for guys as they set a good example with what they have been doing.

“I’ve been really impressed with how they have carried themselves since they got the role and before that.”

For Malouf, their commitment to the program both on and off the field has stood out as they look to guide a youthful squad to the Olympic podium.

“(Henry) Hutch’s strength is that works super hard so anyone coming into the squad they look at the way he trains and the preparation he does so when he goes out on the field it’s second to none,” he explained.

“The energy that he also brings is second to none and he prides himself on that, being a real energizer for the team.

“With Moz (Maurice Longbottom), everyone recognises the incredibly skilful player he is. He’s just leading from the front and starting to understand how Sevens is being played.

“He’s got some really good experience now. He’s wanting to pull defences apart so we’re tapping into his knowledge about how we can exploit some defences and opposition positions.

“He’s been showing guys how to get the best out of themselves like Hutch has."


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