DESPITE being very late in the season, Orange City flanker Gus Brotherton said what he learned at last week’s NSW Country Eagles training camp in Wollongong will help the Lions during the Blowes Clothing Cup finals.
Brotherton, along with 14 other Eagles’ development squad members, was invited to attend NSW Country’s training camp in the lead up to its National Rugby Championship (NRC) opener on Saturday.
Brotherton was the only one of six Central West players in the development squad to attend.
“It was great experience. I trained with the guys Thursday and Friday, but obviously came back to Orange for Saturday’s game against Emus so I missed the final run that morning,” he said.
“I really enjoyed it, it was very educational and getting the chance to rub shoulders with some of the guys in the squad was great.
“For instance, at one stage I was lifting (Super Rugby title winner and former Wallaby) Stephen Hoiles in a lineout, it was incredible.
“We (Orange City) won’t change much being finals time, but I’ll definitely try and bring a few things, one-percenters, back to Pride Park.”
Brotherton joined the Eagles in set piece work on day one and game-based, situational sessions on day two and said the difference in professionalism was the most notable aspect of the camp.
“It showed me how important the tiny technical things are and how much they really focus on them,” he explained.
“From there, especially for me as a flanker, seeing how the guys operated in game situations was huge. It showed me a lot about positional play, where you need to be and how you should approach different situations.
“We did whiteboard sessions as well which was a new concept to me.”
With speculation surrounding the point of the Eagles’ development squad, the 2013 Blowes Clothing Cup player of the year said the inclusion of the shadow players justified the concept.
“It’s massive encouragement I think for the guys who filled in,” Brotherton offered.
“It justifies the concept completely in my eyes, it’s all about improving country rugby and this is one to do that.
“We’ll take it back to our clubs, whether for this season or next, and it will help them improve.”