Rugby?s Mr Reliable
By PAUL CHAMBERS
WHILE all the headlines and rave reviews have been lavished on his younger and supposedly more talented outside backs, Coffs Rugby's mister reliable Buster McCowatt has been the rock on which the team's foundations have been built.
The link man in any rugby team is a key player.
Especially in this team which so dominates its opponents it would be very easy for the team to lose its shape and direction and resort to smashing their way down the middle all the time.
McCowatt is that man, the director, the communicator, the conductor, the man who guides his forwards around the field before unleashing the fury of his backline to tear their opponents to shreds.
And the 29 year old number nine wouldn't have it any other way.
"I see myself as the link between the forwards and the backs. I have to make sure the forwards do their job and get us going forward before choosing the right time to give it out to the backs," he said.
"Sometimes the forwards don't know where they are going and can get a bit lost, but myself and Hugh (Campbell) do a lot of talking and help them out as much as we can."
In an otherwise excellent season McCowatt has only one frustration.
"It has been disappointing some weeks that we have had so much chopping and changing in the back line, it has been difficult to get our combinations exactly right because of this," he said.
McCowatt himself has only missed one game all season, emphasising how important his guidance and consistency has been to the team.
In the games where his team mates have been off playing in rep games or out injured his role in the team became even more crucial, ensuring that the newcomers into the side, or the players playing out of position, could slot into their roles with the minimum of disruption to the teams structure.
The fact that the team qualified for the finals with such ease is a high endorsement of the value players such as McCowatt are to them.
In the finals McCowatt sees the cementing of the team's key combinations as crucial to their success, as well as their attitude.
"If we can finally get our combinations right we will run really well in the finals. We also play much better when we are enjoying ourselves, so going out there and having fun is really important as well," he said.
When asked who he sees as the key players in the side, McCowatt found it hard to single out individuals.
"We have to play well as a team so the front five must win us the ball, the back row must get us repeat phases and then the backs must use the ball well," he said.
"If I had to single out any players as key players it would have to be Kevin Simpson in the backs and Paul Gooley in the forwards."
With most of their first choice side finally back on deck the team should gel pretty well, making McCowatt's job of leading them to success much easier.