Home schooling: McDermott’s lessons with Wallabies great
Tate McDermott has found a silver lining to the health crisis in his timely collaboration with Wallabies great Will Genia to sharpen his halfback skills.
Genia being landlocked in Brisbane for months has created the perfect opportunity to fix one of McDermott's private laments - not having a senior halfback to learn from in the Queensland squad.
Watch Bledisloe Cup Classics with Kayo. New to Kayo? Get your free trial and start streaming instantly >
A three-hour chat last month ignited something within both of them and the pair had their first on-field session together on Monday, all thanks to the matchmaking of Reds backs coach Jim McKay.
Working on the youngster's pass is one of the key areas, more particularly his left-to-right delivery, because it is one of the reasons behind his curious benching for the Reds' two most recent games.
McDermott, 21, has picked up pointers along the way from former Wallaby halfbacks Brett Johnstone, Peter Slattery and Sam Cordingley but never from someone so contemporary in his thinking as Genia.
"I was stoked when Will showed interest (through McKay) and he's been really helpful so far," McDermott said.
"I was a massive fan if I'm being honest because I watched and enjoyed so much of how he played the game for the Reds and Wallabies.
"Getting more out of my pass and those game management things about when to quicken things up or slow them down are two of the biggest areas we're working on.
"When I start to fatigue I've got to better finish off that pass from the left-to-the-right side, because I do think about it a bit too much rather than have it automatic."
Genia has been chilling in Brisbane since he guided the Kintetsu Liners from second division back to Japan's now-postponed Top League with Quade Cooper and coach Nick Stiles.
Genia's eagerness to share the knowledge from his 110 Tests is the best thing that could happen to McDermott, because the length and precision of the Genia pass was his calling card, as well as his sniping.
"Will saw the game differently with the way he ran so, yeah, I'm looking forward to more sessions," McDermott said.
McDermott is back living at the family home at Mudjimba on the Sunshine Coast, where he has a home gym set up and is close to the training field marked at the Novotel Twin Waters Resort.
When the Reds do get back on the field, these mid-season halfback tutorials may prove invaluable steps towards being ready for a Wallabies call-up.
Originally published as Home schooling: McDermott's lessons with Wallabies great