In 2014 Iconz Rugby was looking to take its brand to bigger and better things. Coming off a very successful 2013 where Iconz won the Stan BIssett Cup and qualified to travel to Auckland New Zealand to compete in the Auckland 7s Iconz knew it was going to be a BIG year ahead.
With a year of preparation for Iconz to go International our focus was on Auckland 7s in November, however, through our continued growth and success and strong relationship with Samurai International Iconz Rugby received an invite to the Safaricom 7s in Nairobi, Kenya. This was by far the biggest tournament Iconz had ever played in and saw Iconz play against some of the best teams in the world. Although the final result wasn’t what Iconz was after the opportunity to bring back original Iconz players from 2009 and the experience of the Kenyan people was something that the boys will never forget.
During this time the Australian domestic circuit was happening in Brisbane in which Iconz was competing across 4 tournaments in 4 weeks. These tournaments are exceptional for development and while the results didn’t go our way the real goal is the individual player and through these tournaments we were able to play over 25 players and uncover some great young talent not seen on the 7s field before. The local tour consisted of 5 tournaments:
Emmanuel International 7s
Noosa International 7s
Byron Bay 7s
In 2014 we had notable absences of experience campaigners Luke Samoa, Ben Cronin, Joey Bond and Pierce Fitzgerald and unfortunately we did not see the success of previous years. However, the real highlight of the season was the development of youngsters like Ryan Menzies, Andrew Price, Tyson Beatty, Wilson Bennett and Malik Pataanga. With the individuals in mind Iconz banked on our youngsters to go over to NZ and play against some of the best 7s players in the world. Although we didn’t get the wins we were after, for the young side it was an exceptional experience to play and see firsthand what it takes to win and how crucial 1% efforts are on the 7s field. This experience of 2 international tours in the space of 3mths will only make Iconz stronger in 2015 and see more players get the opportunity to apply their skills across the world.
Outside the 7s arena Iconz management saw a great opportunity in applying their coaching style at a school boy level. With success in 2013 with the Clontarf Beach State High School 7s, Iconz was invited to take over the middle school development of St Pauls School in Bald Hills. St Pauls had a great culture and was very raw. With some small implementation of techniques and a ‘back to basics’ approach we saw massive improvement across all grades not only on the field but off the field. At the same time Iconz Rugby took charge of the St Patricks College 2nd XV. This team had previously won less than 5 games over the past 4 years at the school. The script of the season was something out of a movie. With the focus on ‘Winning Attitude’ and aggression the St Pats boys went on to win 3 games and draw 1. Next was coaching roles at Nudgee College. Iconz took lead of the U12B’s and this was a great season for the U12B’s as they learnt was GPS rugby is all about. It was clear from the start as to why Nudgee is a powerhouse in Australian School boy rugby, great structure, great coaching, and great culture.
During the year Iconz launched PTE (professional training environment) this program whole focus is to give athletes the individual coaching they might not receive at a club level and look to fast track their development. There were 2 stand out performers, first was a young man name Tom Opacic (Bronc U20s). When Tom first started with Iconz he was a big lad but after an injury lacked confidence and the ability on repeat efforts. After just a few weeks in the PTE program he was able to nearly double his work rate and his efficiency on the field was top class. This mid-season change in performance has helped Tom lock in a 2015 train on contract with the Broncs. Second was a women who had made the Australian Wallerroos squad and wanted so bad to make the squad. With only a short time frame we focus on explosive power, foot speed and her mental attitude towards areas of the game. Brooke Saunders made the squad and went on to play in the 2014 WC.
Staying off the field Iconz Rugby also organizes a few events during the year and non-bigger than our annual Ladies Night. This year it was held at the Summit Events Centre and saw special performance from Mark Lowndes and DJ NIVI. The Masquerade theme was a success and saw everyone who attended have a blast. The Next big event was the Shave2Tour where Iconz Management would raise money by shaving their heads to help get the team to Auckland 7s. This event was a great success and saw the big beautiful lock of Mina go and the 8yr long Rats tail of Curto get the chop. Other small events were also success like our father’s day and mother’s day sales.
In the professional arena saw Iconz Rugby players put their stamp on the world. With domestic success for Corey Thompson in the NRL and JJ Taulagi in the Super XV. Also saw many players make their provincial debut (Pierce Fitzgerald, Clinton Knoxx, Harry Parker, Tom Pincus, Sam Greene, and Ryan Tongia) from this Ryan Tongia was able to secure a Super XV contract for 2015. Internationally saw Luke Samoa and Giorgio Phillips apply their trade in Romania with great success, also abroad is Preston Springhall (Ireland), Matt Gandy (Ireland).
It is quite daunting to think that the idea of “ICONZ” was thought up by 2 guys having a beer watching footy playing poker in a lounge room in Brisbane northern suburbs. As what started as how can we help the young guys not make the same mistakes we did to look back 5yr later to see the amount of young men that through their contact with Iconz have been able to take rugby to the next level. 2015 is going to be a cracker of a year with Iconz Rugby only getting bigger and better with more players going professional and more advancements in the coaching techniques.
Head Coach, Iconz Rugby.