The NSW Waratahs are looking to build a long-standing connection with their new home Allianz Stadium as they prepare for their blockbuster opener against the ACT Brumbies on February 24.
The club have been nomadic to a degree since the demolition of the stadium in 2019, playing in Newcastle, Wollongong, Parramatta and everywhere in between.
However, the return home to Allianz coupled with the new stand-of-the-art facilities at Daceyville gives the Waratahs no excuse for poor performance, removed from the demountable of the past.
With this in mind, Waratahs coach Darren Coleman has taken it upon himself to educate the squad about the significance of the place, culminating in pictures emerging of the players camped out on the turf overnight.
As Coleman explained to Rugby.com.au "The sleeping part, that was the gimmick of it all."
The day started with the players going around the stadium in the afternoon, learning about the place and where their family and friends will be sitting come February 25.
This was followed by their first training session on the ground, with less than half a dozen having played there before, followed by their season launch.
The day concluded with a viewing of a documentary about the building of the stadium before legendary Waratah Nathan Grey talked about what it meant to play at the ground, with Coleman believing 'there's not a more passionate Waratahs man.’
It adds an extra element to the Super Rugby Pacific opener between the two sides, with a bumper crowd expected for the clash as the Waratahs look to start their push towards Coleman's eventual vision of becoming the premier Super Rugby club in Australia.
“I wouldn’t claim we’re the best team in Australia but certainly we’d like to be and that’s our goal,” Coleman said.
“If we beat the Brumbies, we go a long way towards it…they’ve been doing it for a long period so I’m not big dogging myself. The administrators in our game cop a hard time for various things but they’ve done a ripper of a job with this, putting the first game back at the Stadium, one of our derby rivalries with pretty healthy Wallaby representation.
“If you’re ever going to watch a Super Rugby game in 2023, this is the one to watch.”
Coleman will rest a host of stars for Saturday's clash against Shute Shield clubs West Harbour and Western Sydney Two Blues.
With his Wallaby contingency still finding their feet, Coleman was excited to see what the likes of Langi Gleeson and Mark Nawaqanitawase can do after their breakout seasons.
“We haven’t seen it yet. They’ve had to come back in and fit under our system and because they’re away on holidays whilst we’re training hard, they come in a little behind in fitness and knowledge levels so they don’t sprinkle that magic dust immediately," he explained
“I thought Langi (Gleeson) had a much better trial one than trial two. Marky (Nawaqanitawase) blew the cobwebs off last week and he’s going to explode in round one. Donno (Ben Donaldson) went between a couple of positions so he’s just finding his feet.”