Dyldam Parramatta Eels Junior Representative Harold Matthews Cup Coach Scott Jones guided his side through 2016 undefeated, as the Blue and Gold U16’s claimed both the National and Grand Final.
At last week’s 2016 District Representative Awards Night, Jones had nothing but praise for his hard working side, that were put through an extreme and gruelling pre-season, before their success at the back end of the season.
“It was a real pleasure to be a part of, and the fact that it is my second year now, to have that bunch of boys we had this year,” Jones said.
“They were really a hard working team, and I don’t want to sound cliché, but these boys we demanded a lot from them from the start. It was a gruelling pre-season, probably the toughest one that I think these boys have ever had.”
“We really asked a lot from them and they gave it their all from the start which set them up for their success that they had at the end of the year,” Jones added.
After his second year of coaching the side, Jones had learnt plenty of lessons to impose on his team, something which he was not fortunate enough to do last year.
After going down in the Grand Final in 2015, the Head Coach was determined to get the job done this year.
“Without a doubt, I learnt from last year’s Grand Final, which was all about how to deliver a week after a loss,” Jones said.
“The one thing I was really disappointed with last year, was we didn’t have a loss. I know it sounds crazy, but I felt I was robbed of an opportunity to go in on a Monday and say ‘Boys, this is what we did wrong and this is what we need to fix’,” Jones added.
And Jones credited his coaches that allowed him to claim both titles in 2016.
“I learnt a lot from that grand final loss last year and I took a lot of those lessons into this season.,” Jones said.
“A different coaching staff this year as well, last year I had a great coaching staff, and this year it was the same again.”
“I had some real experienced coaches around me that helped me out and kept me level headed to deliver those good messages to the boys to make sure we got the job done.”
The Head Coach had plenty of praise for his Captain Kyle Schneider, admitting the two had a special connection, with the young hooker a leader of the team's leadership group.
“The boys poked a little bit of fun at him all night and all season about being my son, but I think at the end of the day it’s always bound to happen when you have that sort of captain-coach relationship,” Jones said.
“He is such a stellar young man that I could really take my ideas to him of what I wanted to push to the team and he was the head of the leadership group, took it to the boys and made my job so easy as a coach.”
“Obviously to win the national final and grand final was great, but to cap off such a great season with those six boys recognised in the squad, and five of them in the playing squad and to have Kyle Schneider who is just one of the most outstanding young men I have ever met, for him to captain the team and to do it in the fashion he did was great” he added.
And despite all the success on the football field in 2016, Jones said it was more important to see his players grow as men off the field and continue their preparation as athletes aiming to crack into the NRL.
“The fact that these boys are 16, you have to take that into consideration, they don’t drive themselves to training, if they are late you can’t fine them and all that, but they are still 16 and still have to be accountable for their actions,” Jones said.
“We were huge with our respect, if boys were late to training, it didn’t matter if mum was stuck in traffic of their train was late, they needed to pick up the phone and let us know.”
“I think that type of stuff really develops them into young men and makes them better players in the future.”
“We had a real tough pre-season and we wanted to push them as far as we could, before we broke them, and I think we did that and it all rolls into the athlete we want them to turn into.”