IT’S a once in a lifetime opportunity for most, and Orange City hooker Josh Tremain didn’t need an invitation to take it.
NSW Waratahs head coach Michael Cheika made the trek to Orange last Saturday night for the HeartKids Rugby Cup, played for the first time between the Deadwood Rugby Club and a Central West Barbarians outfit.
Cheika assisted Central West assistant coach Michael Burgess in getting the home side ready for the clash.
Quizzing him on his time coaching Padova, Leinster and Stade Francais, Tremain was more than happy to pick the brains of one of the sharpest minds in NSW rugby and said the benefit to his game was immediate.
“He was just on to me in the line-out stuff, telling us to keep our hands straight when we throw the ball. He certainly knows how to get you going, he wanted desire and heart out there on the field and it got us pretty fired up,” Tremain revealed.
So does that mean Cheika’s pre-match speeches are as good as two-time premiership winning mentors Steve Hamson and Michael Gray?
“Definitely,” the Lions hooker laughed.
“We were all pretty keen to get out on the field.
“He was a lot bigger than I thought.”
On the field, the Deadwood boys proved too classy for Central West, turning a 17-12 half-time advantage into a 62-19 victory.
Tremain was proud of the effort, however.
“That AJ Gilbert has played for the Waratahs this season. They were just too strong,” he said.
“I thought our defence was good but once they broke one tackle they just got too much momentum off the back of it.”
Cheika also took part in the day’s rugby clinic, proving a hit with the kids alongside the Deadwood players in close to three hours of drills.
Organised by Orange’s Mardi Aplin, close to $2000 was raised for HeartKids out of the match played in front of a healthy crowd at Endeavour Oval.
Tremain believes the concept has legs and “would love to be part of it” again in 2014.
“It was good hard footy played in the right spirit,” he said.
All proceeds from the day went to the HeartKids foundation, supporting children and their families in the Central West who are affected by heart disease.