Joe O’Callaghan is enjoying his time away after a hectic 2010 rugby league season.
Joe O’Callaghan is enjoying his time away after a hectic 2010 rugby league season. Sharyn O'Neill

Joe being conditioned to succeed

JOE O’Callaghan can’t get enough of rugby league.

O’Callaghan, 26, returned to Australia on Monday from a successful three-week tour of France and the United Kingdom as assistant coach of the Australia Universities side.

Working with head coach Grant Stephensen, the pair helped Australia complete a clean-sweep on the tour.

Playing five matches – including three Tests against French and Great Britain student sides – the Australians had the locals’ measure defeating French Students 38-30, before recording back-to-back wins over Great Britain Students 32-16 and 40-30 in the final matches of the tour.

The former Central Comets strength and conditioning coach said he would like to move into the NRL coaching ranks, but is willing to bide his time in the lower grades.

“The goal is, in a couple of years to get into a Toyota Cup club in a conditioning gig,” O’Callaghan said. “I’d love to eventually move into a full-time job in rugby league.”

Currently based in Brisbane, O’Callaghan is aware of the difficult situation he is faced with.

“The only real opportunity in Brisbane and the Gold Coast is with the Broncos and the Titans so it’s tough to get into,” he said.

“I’m just going to keep working away; I’ve got a foot in the door with the work I’m doing at school, club and university level.

“I’m just trying to work with as many people as I can; something’s bound to come up.”

With the CQ NRL Bid campaign in full swing and the NRL earmarking an expansion date of 2014, O’Callaghan said he would love the opportunity to be involved with the club.

“Definitely, If I’m trying to get work at NRL level and there was one in my home town it’d be ideal,” he said.

“I think (Brisbane Broncos assistant coach) Anthony Griffin is the right man for the coaching job.

“He’s someone who I look up to that’s come from (Rockhampton) that’s made it into a NRL system.”

Back on home soil, the secondary school teacher currently teaches rugby league as a subject at the Canberra Raiders-aligned Marsden State High, in Brisbane’s south.

In a school nearing 2000 students, there are 60 students from each year level (from an application list of nearly 240) enrolled in a Rugby League Excellence class as part of their daily schedule.

O’Callaghan’s role is to design and implement strength and conditioning programs, as well as improve the student’s skills on the training field.

This season saw O’Callaghan coach Valleys Diehards in the local Brisbane A grade competition, the Marsden SHS Year 10 side to victory in the Broncos Powerade Kevin Walters Cup and the school’s Open side to a fourth-place finish in the Queensland leg of the Arrive Alive competition.



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