Website proudly created by

Tim O'Malley takes long road to Tasman team

Tim O'Malley sights a gap during the Tasman Makos' pre-season game against Manawatu.
PHOTOSPORT

Tim O'Malley sights a gap during the Tasman Makos' pre-season game against Manawatu.

 

A month can be a very long time in representative rugby circles.

Four weeks ago, Tim O'Malley was contemplating life as a member of the Southland Stags as they built up for their national provincial rugby championship campaign.

Now the 21 year-old first five-eighth is looking forward to showing his skills for the Tasman Makos who begin their quest for the NPC premiership in Blenheim on Sunday.

Originally from Central Otago, O'Malley moved to the Marlborough seaside town of Picton at the start of the year to take up a job as the Waitohi club's rugby development officer and to play for the division one side. His heady play in the 10 jersey saw him included in the Tasman high performance squad, training and playing under the eye of the Makos' coaches.

Towards the end of the club season the Tasman management decided to let him try out for the Southland squad, a back-up option in case he missed the cut for the Makos.

After spending three weeks in the deep south, he got the call from Tasman head coach Leon MacDonald, telling him he had made in the 32-man Makos squad and asking him to head back up north.

"I thought I was going to be down [in Invercargill] for the season before Leon rang up. I was pretty rapt because this is where I played my club rugby and put all the hard work in during the season."

Now he has turned his full attention to the Makos environment, and the challenge of preparing for an NPC campaign. 

"It's great. All the Super [rugby] boys have come back this week so it has been good fun at training with them involved."

O'Malley, who played Heartland rugby for North Otago as a schoolboy in 2012, says the Makos trainings and professionalism have been an eye-opener.

"Absolutely. Everything here is just up another level. You've got to be that much more switched on.

"All the thinking that has to go on behind the scenes, plus the bookwork ... it's a bit like being back at school really, although I pay a bit more attention here than I did at school," added the former St Kevin's College boarder. 

He has also had a taste of the renowned Makos team culture, a factor in their rapid rise to the top reaches of NZ provincial rugby. "When the Super boys came back they made it very clear that they don't want a hierarchy. You have just as much ability to tell them what you think, as they have to tell you. That way everyone feels pretty comfortable in the group, which is awesome."

O"Malley played a full 80 minutes against Manawatu, the Makos final pre-season hit out, and relished the game time. "Just having such good players around you makes it easier. You just worry about your role and everyone else takes care of theirs."

With the dangerous Waikato side their first opponents on Sunday, O'Malley said "the boys are fizzing to get into it".

Although he hopes to be included in the match day 23, O"Malley knows that will be a struggle in itself. "There are that many quality players in the squad, it will be a battle to even get in there. That's the first goal, to make the 23 and go from there."


"Absolutely. Everything here is just up another level. You've got to be that much more switched on.

"All the thinking that has to go on behind the scenes, plus the bookwork ... it's a bit like being back at school really, although I pay a bit more attention here than I did at school," added the former St Kevin's College boarder. 

He has also had a taste of the renowned Makos team culture, a factor in their rapid rise to the top reaches of NZ provincial rugby. "When the Super boys came back they made it very clear that they don't want a hierarchy. You have just as much ability to tell them what you think, as they have to tell you. That way everyone feels pretty comfortable in the group, which is awesome."

O"Malley played a full 80 minutes against Manawatu, the Makos final pre-season hit out, and relished the game time. "Just having such good players around you makes it easier. You just worry about your role and everyone else takes care of theirs."

With the dangerous Waikato side their first opponents on Sunday, O'Malley said "the boys are fizzing to get into it".

Although he hopes to be included in the match day 23, O"Malley knows that will be a struggle in itself. "There are that many quality players in the squad, it will be a battle to even get in there. That's the first goal, to make the 23 and go from there."