For new Camels coaches, rugby is in their blood

Cobar Camels’ new strength and conditioning coach John Barnes and head coach Heath Budd have big things planned for the Camels squad this season.
Cobar Camels’ new strength and conditioning coach John Barnes and head coach Heath Budd have big things planned for the Camels squad this season.

The Cobar Camels Rugby Union’s new coaching staff Heath Budd and John ‘The Outlaw’ Barnes have ‘rugby in their blood’ and both are keen to see the Cobar club do well in the 2016 Western Plains competition.

The Camels committee, headed up by president Mal Harris, late last year appointed Budd as their new head coach and Barnes as their strength and conditioning coach with preseason training commencing last month.

Both have a long history with the game and bring a wealth of experience from their many years of involvement as former players and coaches of ‘the game they play in heaven’.

Budd played for 15 years in the Southern Inland competition, which is one of the biggest and strongest competitions outside of Sydney.

His last game was in 2002 with the Griffith Blacks when they won a premiership.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have won a couple of first grade, a couple of second grade and a couple of third grade premierships,” he said.

Budd’s also had some coaching success with his Griffith team winning a second grade premiership however he said unfortunately the first grade prize had eluded them twice.

“We made it to the finals twice but not to the grand final,” he said.

Budd said his style of coaching is to make sure that each player is doing what the bloke next to him is.

His said fitness, talking to each other and mateship will help ensure the team stays cohesive and is successful in their games.

Budd has however left all the pre-season training and, in particular fitness, in Barnes’ hands.

Barnes played for 30 years in South Africa, 16 years in Premium (or first class rugby) and five years at Provincial level (state rugby).

Since coming to Australia, he’s worked as a strength and conditioning coach with the Western Force club in Perth. (The side won the league in 2014.)

Barnes said he watched the Camels play a few games last season and noticed the side was lacking fitness and approached the club in the off season with an offer of training in 2016.

In addition to his rugby experience, Barnes also has a Masters in Personal Training, was a trainer in the South African Special Forces and also a professional wrestler, who went under the name of ‘The Outlaw’.

“I keep myself fit. If I cannot do it, I won’t ask the team to do it,” is Barnes’ philosophy when it comes to training.

In their first two weeks of preseason training, the Camels have been doing a lot of running.

“I believe if you’ve got strong and powerful legs, you’ve got endurance and can last 80 minutes,” Barnes said.

In addition to running, the team has been doing squats, lunges and also hill running once a month.

Barnes last week introduced them to shadow rugby and is not in a hurry to introduce the ball as he’s keen to avoid any preseason injuries.

“The fitter they are the better for preseason games.”

Barnes said he’s seen a lot of hamstrings, calves and shoulder injuries happen in preseason.

He hopes to have players to a 60-70 per cent level of fitness (by his standards) for their first games which include a warm up match against a Firies side in March and a Nyngan knockout in April.

Barnes said his goal for the team is to win more than two games this season and to prove to other clubs that they are a fit side.

Budd’s goal for the side however is much loftier.

“The ultimate goal, the premiership.

“They won one game last season, so anything more than that is a bonus, but if you don’t set your sights on the premiership at the start, then what are we here for?” Budd said.

He said they have been getting good numbers to training over the past weeks and is confident of fielding a competitive first grade side for the 2016 competition.