From Rising player to coach for Pom Simona

The Melbourne Rising are please to announce Pom Simona as an assistant coach for the 2017 National Rugby Championship (NRC), which kicks off next month.

Simona will make history when he becomes the first Rising alumni to be named as a member of the coaching staff for the underpinning program.

“The Melbourne Rising program is not just a development tool for promising local players, but it’s also important to use the opportunity to nurture aspiring coaches,” Melbourne Rising head coach Zane Hilton said.

“Pom continues to make significant strides in his development as a coach so we’re pleased to be able to provide the opportunity to continue his tutelage with the Rising as a forwards coach for 2017.

“Pom brings a unique and intimate understanding of the Melbourne Rising program as a recent player so we’re pleased to have him involved in the program again as a part of the Victorian high-performance pathway.”

An inaugural member of the Melbourne Rising, Simona made 13 appearances over the first two seasons of the national competition in 2014 and 2015.

The backrower was appointed vice-captain for the Rising’s debut season and was honoured as joint winner, with Maradona Farao, of the Gary Grey Team Spirit Award in 2015.

Simona said it was an exciting opportunity to resume his Rising career on the sideline.

“I’m very excited to be involved in NRC once again but especially to be part of the Rising program this time as a coach,” Simona said.

“The NRC is a very unique competition where you’re getting local club players training, playing and most importantly learning from full-time professionals, including Wallabies.

“It’s the ultimate learning environment for an aspiring player and definitely the same for me as an aspiring coach so I’m really looking forward to developing my skills and learning from Zane and Craig, who are coaches I hold in the highest regard.

“There’s lots of exciting talent around Victoria to complement the full-time Rebels players so I believe we’ll have a very strong squad and look forward to getting stuck into the 2017 NRC season.”

Along with Simona, Craig McGrath will continue his role as an assistant coach.

The Melbourne Rising held a selection trial on Wednesday night at Harlequin Park featuring a 46-player strong Extended Training Squad of local Dewar Shield players.

Hilton will name his Melbourne Rising squad for the 2017 National Rugby Championship (NRC) on Monday morning.

The Melbourne Rising will kick-off their 2017 campaign on the road against the Perth Spirit on Sunday 3 September before returning home to take on competition newcomers Fiji at Harlequin Park on Saturday 9 September.