Troj Perkins o ragbi ligi u Srbiji i Crvenoj zvezdi

Seli smo da popričamo sa čovekom koji je igrao ragbi ligu u nekim od najboljih svetskih klubova, ima veliko trenersko iskustvo i došao je u Beograd da to iskustvo prenese igračima Crvene zvezde i pomogne razvoju kluba. Njegovo ime je Troj Perkins i pričao nam je o tome kako je počeo svoju igračku i trenersku karijeru, šta misli o potencijalima Crvene zvezde i razvoju ragbi lige u Srbiji, pa samim ti i razvoju ragbi lige na svetskom nivou.

For the interview in English, please, scroll down.

CK: Možeš li ukratko da mi ispričaš pregled tvoje igračke karijere u ragbi ligi?

TP: Dolazim iz Australije, prošao sam kroz omladinski sistem i akademiju Balmejn Tajgersa, zatim sam bio 2 godine u prvom timu Balmejn Tajgersa, a posle toga sam otišao u St. George Dragonse i Penrith Panterse. Bio sam deo prvog tima tokom 5 sezona u Australiji i posle toga sam otišao u Francusku gde sam proveo 3 godine u Tuluzu i godinu dana u Perpinjanu koji sada igra u engleskoj Super Ligi, da bi konačno završio u Engleskoj gde se nalazim već 14 godina. Otišao sam kao trener-igrač, a otišao sam u penziju pre 10 godina i do skoro sam bio trener polu-profesionalne ekipe, ali sam baš napustio tu poziciju.

CK: Koji tim u kome si igrao ti je doneo najviše iskustva?

TP: Mislim da je da je svaki tim u kojem sam igrao bio drugačije iskustvo, svuda je bilo i nekih dobrih i nekih loših stvari. Najvrednije iskustvo su verovatno bili Penrith Pantersi, zato što je to tim u kojem sam odigrao najviše utakmica za prvi tim na najvišem nivou, a kao dete dok odrastate ono što najviše želite je da budete igrač prvog tima jedne NRL ekipe, a to sam uspeo da postignem u Penrith-u i to ne mali broj puta, tako da je to bilo iskustvo o kojem sa verovatno najviše uživao. Kada igrate za prvi tim naučite mnogo više jer redovno igrate sa boljim igračima, a uz to smo imali i velike pobede protiv nekih velikih ekipa, tako da sam tamo imao neka stvarno dobra iskustva.

CK: Kako si započeo svoju trenersku karijeru?

TP: Otišao sam u Englesku kao igrač, ali sam se povredio već posle dve utakmice. Trener kojeg smo imali u Koventri Bers-ima je bio, da kažem, prilično amaterski i ja sam osećao da bi mogao da pružim mnogo i sa trenerske strane. Na početku sam radio kao pomoćnik, ali mislim da je trener i sam uvideo da znam mnogo više od njega i odlučio je da ode. Tako sam ušao u trenerski posao malo brže nego što sam očekivao, tako da sam naredne 3 godine bio i trener i igrač. Bilo mi je jako teško da budem na terenu i istovremeno donosim odluke dok igram, to je bilo baš izazovno. Verovatno najteža stvar je kombinovati te dve stvari u isto vreme. Onda sam preuzeo samo trenersku ulogu kako bi mogao da se potpuno fokusiram na trenersku stranu posla i nisam morao da brinem o igranju ili kako ću morati da treniram jako kako bi bio u dovoljno dobroj formi da mogu da pružim dobre partije za tim. Zato sam odustao od igranja sa 30 godina, nisam bio ni previše star.

CK: Kako iz tvog ugla izgleda ragbi liga u Srbiji?

TP: Potrebno je dosta rada, daleko je od ragbi lige koja se igra u Australiji ili Engleskoj, ali dok god postoje strastveni ljudi koji guraju sport u napred i dok god ima strastvenih igrača koji su veoma posvećeni mislim da igra samo može da napreduje. Bio sam ovde 2005. i proveo sam par dana. Mislim da su od tada povišeni standardi i očigledno ima više timova koji igraju ragbi ligu što je dobra stvar, a mislim i da je nacionalni tim Srbije takođe napredovao. Potrebno je da postoji jače takmičenje u Srbiji kako bi igrači napredovali, što će ojačati i nacionalni tim. Ako postoji tim (odavde) koji igra u Engleskoj to može samo da donese dobro srpskoj ragbi ligi, a takođe i internacionalnoj igri, a to je ono na čemu Colin i Crvena zvezda rade kada je reč o dugoročnim planovima, zato što igrači moraju da igraju na visokom nivou iz nedelje u nedelju. Ako imate priliku da dovedete prekookeanske igrače kod vas to će unaprediti i srpske igrače koji igraju sa njima iz nedelje u nedelju.

CK: Koja su po tvom mišljenju dostignuća Crvene zvezde?

TP: Održao sam samo dva treninga sa Zvezdom i po mom mišljenju imate neke igrače koji bi mogli da igraju League 1 u Engleskoj. Po onome što sam do sada video očigledno je potrebno više posvećenosti igrača da redovno učestvuju u treninzima i posvećenosti igrača utakmicama. Ako je takmičenje mnogo redovnije, ako se stalno igraju utakmice i igrači stiču rutinu igrajući svake nedelje to će ih gurati i inspirisati da budu bolji. Na terenu vidim da postižete dobre rezultate, pretpostavljam da je sada potrebno da sredite strukturu kluba van terena. To je takođe veoma važno, kao i trening, imati iste igrače na svakom treningu, imati ustaljenu bazu za treninge. Ako tako neke stvari mogu biti postignute klub može samo da ide napred i to brzinom svetlosti.

CK: S obzirom da je bila aktuelna tema u skorije vreme i početak je Svetskog Kupa reci nam šta ti misliš o tome što ragbi liga još uvek nije priznata kao međunarodni sport?

TP: Pristrasan sam, mislim da je odlična igra, ali svi znamo da nije međunarodna igra kao što je to ragbi unija (ragbi 15). Nema toliko ekipa, nema toliko zemalja koje igraju, a na Svetskom Kupu većinu reprezentacija čine igrači rođeni u Australiji i Engleskoj (sa poreklom iz zemlje za koju nastupaju). Imate Škotsku, imate Irsku koje su sastavljene od pretežno engleskih igrača, pa imate Liban, imate Italiju koji su sastavljeni pretežno od igrača iz Australije. To je nešto o čemu može da se raspravlja, ali ti igrači jačaju ekipe i čine takmičenje zanimljivijim što sa druge strane mora da bude dobra stvar. Ako odaberete lokalne igrače, igrače koji su ponikli u domaćim ligama, Italija bi gubila, utakmica između Italije i Libana ne bi bila, tog standarda, Irska bi takođe gubila i takve stvari, tako da treba pronaći neku sredinu. Zato su promenili pravila o kvalifikovanosti igrača za Svetski Kup, tako da možete da igrate za naciju prvog ranga, a posle toga vam je dozvoljeno da igrate za naciju drugog ranga na Svetskom Kupu, tako da su neki australijski igrači odlučili da igraju za Tongu i neki Novozelanđani su odlučili da igraju za Tongu zbog svojih porodičnih veza. Te ekipe su bolje zbog takvih stvari. To je dobro za igru, ali i verovatno maskira neke probleme koji postoje u međunarodnoj igri i pokazuje kako bi ona morala da bude mnogo bolja. Najbolji primer za to je kada se reprezentacija Srbije sačinjena pretežno od igrača iz Srbije sastala sa reprezentacijom Italije sastavljene takođe od lokalnih Italijana ili (sa reprezentacijom Irske) od lokalnih Iraca, Srbija je pobeđivala ubedljivo, ali stavite ih da igraju protiv Italije sačinjene od Australijanaca ili Irske sačinjene od Engleza onda život postaje težak, tako da je sve u pronalaženju te sredine i žao mi je Srbije zato što nema mnogo Srba koji igraju ragbi ligu u Engleskoj ili Australiji i koji mogu da dobiju poziv i poboljšaju tim. Braća Trbojević sada već igraju za Australiju, tako da je stvar jako teška i žao mi je srpske ragbi lige u tom smislu.

CK: To bi moglo da se promeni u narednih 10 godina?

TP: Potrebno je da srpski igrači igraju na visokom nivou i to samo može da ih unapredi. Opet, postoji taj problem što nemate mogućnost da pošaljete igrače u Englesku ili Australiju gde je teško dobiti pravu vizu, to je prepreka, jer Srbija nije u EU. Čak i francuska reprezentacija ima dosta igrača koji igraju u Engleskoj i koji su možda dovoljno dobri za Super Ligu, ali ipak igraju u Čempionšipu u Engleskoj (za francusku ekipu Toulouse XIII) ili igraju u veoma jakom prvenstvu Francuske. To pravi razliku i to je razlog zašto oni imaju, da kažemo, dobar tim, pošto su izgubili juče (od Libana na Svetskom Kupu). Problem za srpsku ragbi ligu je, ponavljam, taj što je jako teško da pošalju neke od igrača u te bolje zemlje, zemlje u kojima se igra bolja ragbi liga u kojima će oni da napreduju.

CK: U čemu si najviše uživao dok si bio u Beogradu?

TP: Da… Uživao sam! Kao što sam rekao, bio sam u Beogradu već nekoliko puta i uživao sam u ambijentu i atmosferi Beograda, znate, ima odličnih kafića, barova, restorana… To je mesto u kome nije ni malo skupo provoditi vreme, ljudi su veoma prijateljski nastrojeni, a takođe tu su i ljudi koji su strastveni kada je reč o ragbi ligi i to je zašto sam ja ovde. Ne bih bio ovde da nikoga nije briga za ragbi ligu, to bi bilo gubljenje vremena. Tako da, postoje strastveni ljudi u Srbiji i u inostranstvu koji žele da razvijaju srpsku ragbi ligu i Crvenu Zvezdu, a ako ja mogu da odigram bar malu ulogu u tome, za mene će to biti nagrada.

CK: Can you tell me a brief overview of your career as a rugby league player?

TP: I’m from Australia i come through the junior system of Balmain Tigers through the academy, then i spent two years full time at Balmain Tigers and then i went to St George Dragons and Penrith Panthers. So I was in a full time environment for five seasons in Australia before moving to France where i spent 3 years in Toulouse and one year in Perpignan, who are now in the English Super League, before heading to England and I’ve been there ever since, 14 years. I went over as a player manager, player coach, before retiring 10 years ago where i now just now coach a semi-professional team which I’ve just stepped down from recently.

CK: What team that you played in brought the most valuable experience to you?

TP: I think every team I played in has been a different experience, there’s been some good stuff and some bad stuff. Probably the most valuable would’ve been Penrith Panters, because that’s the team I played the most first team (First grade) games, and as a child and growing up you wanna be a first team player at an NRL club and I managed to do that a fair few times at Penrith. So that would probably be the most enjoyable experience, and when you’re playing first team you tend to learn a bit more because your actually playing with the better players regularly, and we had some god wins over some big teams so, you know, there are some great experiences there.

CK: How did your coaching career start?

TP: I went to England as a player and after two games I got injured and the coach that they had at Coventry Bears was quite “amateurish” and I felt that I could give a lot of input to the coaching side of it. So initially i just started to help as an assistant, but i think he found that I knew a lot more than him and he decided to just step down. So I fell into coaching a little bit earlier than I expected so for three years I was a player coach. That was quite difficult to be able to be on the field make the decisions as you’re playing, that was quite challenging. Probably the hardest thing you can do is combining the both at the same time. Then I just took up a coaching role, where I could focus on the coaching side of it not have to worry about playing or training really hard to keep myself in good shape to be a player that could give a lot to the team, so that’s why I stepped away from playing at the age of 30, not too old.

CK: How does rugby league in Serbia look from your perspective?

TP: I mean aah, it needs a lot of work, it’s a long way of rugby league in Australia or England but as long as there’s passionate people driving it forward and there’s passionate players that are very committed I think it can only improve. I was here in 2005 and spent a few days here, I think the standards improved since then and obviously there’s more teams playing the game which is a good thing, and the Serbian national team I think have got better as well. There needs to be a stronger competition within Serbia to improve the players which will improve their national team. If there was a team playing in England that can only be good for Serbian rugby league but also the international game, and that’s what obviously Colin and Red Star are working towards as a long term goal because the players need to be playing at a good level week in week out. If you can have an opportunity to bring some overseas players over that will just improve the Serbian players as well, that are playing with them week in week out.

CK: What do you think are the perspectives of Red Star?

TP: I’ve only taken the two training sessions and there are some players there that in my opinion could play League 1, for what I’ve seen, but obviously there needs to be i guess more commitment from the players to be involved in training all the time, and committed to games and i guess if the competition’s a lot more regular, there’s games all the time, players getting a routine of playing every week that would drive them and inspire them to be better. On the field the results seem good, I guess it’s putting structures in place off the field. That’s really important as well, and the training and having the same players at every training, having a stable training base, and things like that if that can be done the club can only go forward at a rate of knots really.

CK: Since it’s been an issue recently, and it’s the beginning of the World Cup, what are your thoughts on Rugby league still not recognized as a sport internationally?

TP: I’m biased, i think it’s a great game, but we all know it’s not an international game like rugby union, you know, you haven’t got so many teams, so many countries play, and in the World Cup the joint of those countries are made up of English and Australian players. Your Scotlands, your Irelands are made up of predominantly English players, you know, your Lebanon, your Italy are made up of predominantly Australian players. That’s a bit of an issue but i guess having those players in the teams that can make them stronger, and make the competition more competitive is got be a good thing. If you want to pick local players, home grown players, Italy would’ve got beat, well the Italy-Lebanon game wouldn’t have been the same standard, and the Irish team would’ve got beaten as well and things like that so it’s having that balance. So they’ve changed the eligibility rules for the World Cup so you can play for a top tee nation and then you can play for a second tee nation in the World Cup, so some Australian players have chosen to play for Tonga, and some New Zealand players have chosen to play for Tonga because of family ties. That’s made those teams stronger so it’s good for the game but it’s probably masking some underlying issues on the international game how it needs to be a lot better. Prime example is when predominantly Serbian team come up against a (national) team from Italy made up of local Italians or (Ireland team) of local Irish the Serbians would win convincingly, but bring them against Italian team made up of Australians or an Irish team made up of English then life becomes difficult, so it’s getting that balance, and I feel for Serbia because there’s not loads of Serbian rugby league players in England or Australia that you can call on, to improve the team. Obviously the Trbojević brothers are playing for Australia now, so it’s a difficult one and i feel for Serbian rugby league in that sense.

CK: But in perspective that could be changed in next 10 years or so?

TP: Serbian players need to be playing at a high level, and that could only improve them, and again the problem with not being able to send Serbian players to England or Australia where is very difficult for visas, that’s a hindrance, you know, because they’re not in the EU. Even the French team, they have a lot of French players playing in England that may not be good enough to play in Super League but they’re either playing in the Championship in England or they’re playing in a very strong French competition, and that’s the difference and that’s why they’ve got, let’s say, a good quality team, they got beat yesterday (against Lebanon in the World Cup). But that’s what, again, problem with Serbian rugby league is that is difficult to send some players to those better countries, better rugby league playing countries where they’re gonna improve.

CK: What did you enjoy the most in Belgrade?

TP: Yeah… I enjoyed. As I said I’ve been to Belgrade a several times and I enjoyed the atmosphere and the ambiance of Belgrade, you know, there’s great cafe’s, bars, restaurants… It’s a very inexpensive place to spend time, the people are very friendly, and there’s passionate people about rugby league, and that’s why I’m here, you know, I wouldn’t have come over if nobody cared about rugby league, it’ll be a waste of time. So there’s passionate people in Serbia and abroad that wanna develop Serbian rugby league and Red Star, and if I can play just a small part of that, that would be rewarding for me.

Related Post