HE might have closed the Pirates chapter of his life but rugby is consuming even more of Garry Walsh’s time these days – and he couldn’t be happier.
Walsh is the new ARU North West participation manager.
He’s officially been in the job a couple of weeks and is loving every minute of it.
“I’m just learning so much,” he said.
“Even though I’ve been in the game a lifetime there’s so much to learn.”
It’s been a pretty busy initiation.
In his first week on the job he covered just short of 2000km.
He visited schools and clubs in Wee Waa, Moree, Gunnedah and Armidale, finishing the week in Uralla with a gala day for the small schools.
“We had about 150 kids between 5-12yrs,” Walsh said.
Last week he spent a bit of time in the office and also had the North West Schools Challenge.
It involved 26 boys’ and
girls’ teams from schools right across the region.
While he is passionate about the game, Walsh said he hadn’t really thought about working as a development officer before.
“It was all very opportunistic,” he said.
He was looking for a bit of a career change and, when he heard Stephen O’Brien was moving on, put in an
The rest, as they say, is
“I rang my boss John Searle after my first day and thanked him,” Walsh said.
“I had a wonderful day.”
The only downside – if there is one – is that he can’t coach Pirates any more.
“It is sad. It’s been a big part of my life,” he said.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Pirates.”
That said, he was planning to finish up this year.
“It was always going to be my last year,” he said.
It was time for a change.
He knows though he leaves the club in a strong position, and is ready to tackle the next challenge – one he’s not going into totally blind.
“I’ve got a bit of an understanding of the skin surface,” he said.
“But when we get into the schools that will be the health check.”
He was very complimentary of the job done by his predecessors and is keen to build on what they’ve put in place.
Meanwhile, at Pirates’ presentation last Friday night, captain Andrew Moodie was named first grade best and fairest.
Centre Jake Douglas was the players’ pick with prop Matt Kelly adjudged the best forward and fullback Jake Hartmann the best back.
Hartmann was also the representative player of the year.
In club awards, Andrew Verrell was the Buccaneer of the Year, Noel Skewes won the Phar Lap award, Moodie was the highest pointscorer and Jacqui Bowden the Club Lady of the Year.
Tamworth also held its presentation on Friday night, with breakaway Harry Veitch being named the Magpies’ best and fairest. Alistair Doyle was judged the most valuable player, Nick Humphries the best back and John Herdegen the most improved.