MANY Casuarina Cup Day competitors were tackling like champions, thanks to rugby league legend Gary Belcher's help.
Casuarina Beach Junior Rugby coaching director Peter "Pottsie" Nielson said the Belcher-led Safe Tackling clinic, on Tuesday, 6 March, imparted "must-have" skills on the new young recruits.
"Kids who had been to the clinic on Tuesday, you could actually see them tackling better on Wednesday," Pottsie said.
St Anthony's Catholic Primary School took out the junior Casuarina Cup on 7 March, while Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar took the senior.
Pottsie said his under-10s son Harry had benefited greatly from the tackling clinic, as he and other under-10s were either tackling for the first time or had never played rugby at all before.
"The Kingscliff team my son was in had a few kids who'd never played before, six or seven who'd played rugby, six or seven who'd played league, and a couple of soccer players.
"It was a bit of a crack up," he said.
Effective tackling could also help avoid injuries to young bones, muscles and tendons, Pottsie said.
"In union the emphasis on proper technique is taught better than to rugby league kids.
"I saw some things that Gary pointed out which made their tackling better."
He said many of the kids may not have known who Belcher was, though he had told them he played for Australia, the State of Origin and for Canberra.
"Probably the coaches were more impressed with who he was.
"He did basic drills - things we can revisit with the coaches during the season.
"That was my main aim: to give the coaches something to revisit during the season as, though we're keen to get Gary down to do another clinic, his time is precious."
Belcher is a Casuarina local, but is not always in the area due to broadcasting duties.
Pottsie said the Brunswick Sevens would be held at the club next Thursday, and Casuarina would be a strong club until facing such teams as Coomera and Nerang in the Gold Coast Junior Rugby Competition.
"Over the years we've had a few kids gain scholarships with The Southport School," he said.
"It's a really good little breeding ground.
"Our biggest issue is the pathway: where do they go after under-15s?"
The club still has spots in all age groups so visit casuarinarugby.com or phone the club secretary on 0414 895121 to register interest.