Rugby ATL leans on pillars and roots
The 2023 Major League Rugby season is nearly here, and Rugby ATL has been hard at work in preparation for our third full season on the pitch.
A major theme behind this preparation is TREES, head coach Steve Brett’s pillars to guide the team this season. TREES stands for Trust, Respect, Elevate, Execute, Succeed.
“We obviously have our PACE values,” Brett said. “Our roots run deep. As a coaching staff, me and Blake, this is our first time we’ve been able to coach our own coaching style. We’ve had that influence from [former head coach] Scott Lawrence obviously within our coaching, but not on the team. So this is the opportunity we’ve got to evolve our coaching, and that’s how we did it.”
As Rugby ATL’s roots continue to grow and expand, our core of original returning players continues to make its impact on the team. Jason Damm, Matt Heaton and others have been with the team since our first season and have grown into leadership roles along the way. They carry institutional knowledge with them, which helps the coaches on a daily basis.
“What it brings is that it makes our job a hell of a lot easier,” assistant coach Blake Bradford said. “These guys understand the way that we operate. They understand the way that we coach and so they drive the standards. From a forwards perspective, because they know how I coach and what I do, they drive the standards and I can just focus on adding detail.”
Damm has a similar sentiment from a player perspective.
“Yeah, it’s interesting. Over time, you’ve become one of the old boys, one of the old dogs,” Damm said. “You can fill into more of a leadership role or a mentorship role and it changes from just kind of worrying about yourself day to day to help and try to keep the team on track and keep the culture going in the right direction and keep the standards high.
“I think we’re blessed with a lot of good leadership on this team throughout the squad, you know, not just in positions of ‘leadership,’ but just every player can have something that they bring to the team to help with the standard and keep the culture moving forward.”
Rugby ATL kicks off preseason on Feb. 4 before starting our official MLR season on Feb. 17 against the Toronto Arrows in the “Fire and Ice Cup” at Silverbacks Park in Atlanta.
Rugby ATL 2023 Roster (New players bolded)
|Viliami (Vili) Helu||Jonas Petrakopoulos||Wikus Groenewald||Matthew Gelhaus|
|Daemon Torres||Jason Damm||Christian Milan||William Burke|
|Chukwuyem Henry-ajudua||Ross Deacon||Jordan Brown||John-Roy Jenkinson|
|George Barton||Matthew Heaton||Isaac Bales||Lincoln Sii|
|William Leonard||Te Rangatira Waitokia||Kurt Coleman||Seth Purdey|
|Duncan Van Schalkwyk||Jack Shaw||Justin Basson||Harley Davidson|
|Rewita Biddle||Rowan Gouws||Nolan Tuamoheloa||Jonas Petrakopoulos|
|Martini Talapusi||Evan Conlon||Austin White||Cullen (Alex) Maughan|
|Tiaan Erasmus||Ryan Rees||Johannes Momsen||Benjamin Strang|