GET TO KNOW: Will Nicholson, Rising Manager
The appointment of Victoria’s Rugby Services Manager, Will Nicholson, as Melbourne Rising Manager caps off an incredible journey for a man with management in his blood.
At just 28 years of age, Nicholson is one of the youngest managers in the NRC, and follows in the footsteps of his late father Adam, who assisted the Rebels management team as a volunteer in the formative years of the club.
It’s poignant then that Nicholson would inherit the role of Rising Manager from Mark Rowe, his father’s old boss, who has stepped aside for season 2018. Nicholson credits Rowe with playing a significant role in his development since his father lost his battle to cancer in 2012.
“Rowey (Mark Rowe), since my father passed away, has taken on somewhat of a mentor role for me here at the Rebels,” explains Nicholson.
“I usually just use him to buy me coffees,” laughs Nicholson, “but he’s a really good fella and I enjoy his company.”
Beginning as a Development Officer for Rugby Victoria seven years ago, Nicholson quickly rose to the role of the Rugby Services Manager for Victoria, responsible for running all the rugby competitions in the state.
In between work commitments, Nicholson volunteered as a team manager for various Victorian state teams, all the way from u/12s through to the u/20s.
His time in those roles coincided with the emergence of many young Victorian players who are now challenging for places in the NRC program, including Haloti Fonua, Sione Tui and Oisin Clarken.
Their rise follows the emergence of fellow home grown talent Jordan Uelese, Sione Tuipulotu, Fereti Sa’aga and Rob Leota; Rebels players who were all part of state programs managed by Nicholson.
The strong community links within the Rising’s staff is as a real positive, according to Nicholson.
“Obviously Pom (Simona) has a strong association with Harlequins having coached there. Eoin (Toolan) was obviously tied up with the Super u/20s last year and a lot of those boys are in contention for this squad. Additionally, John Batina (rugby analyst) comes from the Northern Rugby Club so there’s a lot of connections between the staff and the community.”
“I think we need to continue to show the pathway for the community. It sometimes seems like a big step from Dewar Shield to Super Rugby, so if we can continue to close the gap with the Rising, whether that be with the players or staff, I think that’ll give the community hope that there’s options for them to stay in Victoria.”