Australia
Players see NRC as major success
Jake Michaels
November 3, 2014
Just under 8000 fans turned up to see Brisbane City claim the inaugural NRC. © Getty Images
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It has been a tumultuous few weeks for Australian rugby.

Ewen McKenzie's shock resignation following Kurtley Beale's texting antics threw Australian rugby into disarray and effectively took the spotlight away from the on-field action, which - from a Wallabies point-of-view - hasn't been all that flash either. But in a trying period for Australian rugby there has been one shining light, the revamped, reintroduced National Rugby Championship (NRC) which was taken out by Brisbane City at the weekend.

The NRC has been fast, physical and unpredictable; three qualities cherished by rugby fans. And you only need to hear what the players have to say to be convinced of the competition's value.

Andrew Kellaway (NSW Country Eagles): "It's been a terrific competition and great to test myself against some of these guys. The standard of the NRC has already proven that it's at a high enough level."

Andrew Kellaway (R) finished the NRC with a competition-high nine tries © ARU
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Hamish Angus (North Harbour Rays): "The biggest difference with the NRC is that there are no easy games. The quality is really even throughout and you need to always be playing consistent football. It has been very enjoyable and a great test."

Jack Debreczeni (Melbourne Rising): "We have all enjoyed the speed of the competition and the opportunity we have been given to improve. It really allows us to work on areas that require development."

Jack Debreczeni (R) was the competition's leading points-scorer. © Getty Images
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James Horwill (Brisbane City): "The NRC is a great initiative and something that Australian rugby desperately needed. It's a fantastic launching pad for younger players and it also helps uncover hidden talent."

Jesse Mogg (Canberra Vikings): "The NRC will hold Australian rugby and the Wallabies in good stead. All the boys have really enjoyed the format of the competition and players have adapted well to the law variations. It's definitely a lot quicker and more physical than first anticipated. It really is quite similar to the Super Rugby."

Luke Morahan (Perth Spirit): "It's a fantastic standard of rugby. It has been really entertaining and the high amount of tries from attacking rugby is really impressive."

Tom Coolican (Sydney Stars): "The speed and relentlessness are two areas that are at a substantially high level. We've also noticed that if any mistakes are made at this level you're going to be punished."

Sam Windsor (NSW Country Eagles): "It's been great. To reach such a high level has been outstanding. I've played in quite a few competitions now in England and Ireland and the free flowing nature of the NRC probably makes it the pick of the bunch."

Let's be realistic. The NRC may not transform Australian rugby overnight and it's not going to stop players getting involved in off-field mischief, but it will be a successful tool in fostering young talent and providing early opportunities for the next generation of Wallabies.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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