McDermott relishes fresh outlook on pre-season
Sunshine Coast product Tate McDermott says the Queensland Reds have embraced a different approach to pre-season this year and he's loving every minute of it.
The former Sunshine Coast Grammar student earned his first cap for the Reds in round two this year and went on to play a further seven games before season's end.
He's relished his time in the top flight and has also enjoyed all the rigours of pre-season with the Ballymore-based outfit in the past few weeks.
"I think this pre-season in particular has been completely different to last season and I think we've had a big focus on our fitness base as opposed to our rugby base last year," McDermott said.
"We're still working away on our skills but I think in particular the coaching roster we've brought in this year have been second to none.
"It's been awesome to have those experienced guys in Jim McKay, Peter Ryan and Dave Alred, our kicking coach, to come in and show us all the tricks of the trade so it's been awesome so far and one week to go (before Christmas break) so I'm looking forward to it."
McDermott and the Reds have been busy in the region this week, in the midst of a training camp at the Sunshine Coast Stadium.
He's garnered plenty of experience on and off the field since joining the Reds and was hungry to earn more game time in the No.9 jersey in the new year.
However, he was quick to admit there was plenty of "healthy competition" to contend with in Moses Sorovi and James Tuttle.
"Last year was a big learning curve for me with the transition from basically schoolboy footy then to Sevens and back to prem grade and then being lucky enough to play a bit of NRC and then into Super (Rugby)," he said.
"I've learned a lot around my game management side of things and when to pass ball and when to run and when to kick and all that kind of little stuff that's really important at that level. If I was to make a mistake you get found out pretty quick."
He acknowledged his rise through the ranks had been exciting and reflected fondly on being a fan from afar only a few years ago.
"It's pretty surreal I've got to pinch myself sometimes that I am in the position that I am and I'm just taking it one step at a time but its been an awesome ride so far."