The Captain of the Atlanta Rhinos sat down to share his thoughts on the upcoming 2015 season.
Nick Newlin had an incredible first year with the Atlanta Rhinos, not only being named the team captain, but also having an opportunity to play two games against visiting international teams, as part of the USA Pioneers. He was also awarded the coaches player of the year, so his belief in what the Rhinos can achieve this season is rightfully high. Yet he remained grounded in his expectations of the amount of effort and dedication that will be required by all players to bring a trophy to Atlanta.
1. What brought you back to Captain for the second season? – Coming back to the Atlanta Rhinos team for the 2015 season has been a priority and ambition of mine since our season ended last year in late July with a rough outing against the Central Florida Warriors in the 1st round of the playoffs. I was honored to suit up for the USA Pioneers for two games after the season, once against the New Zealand Police traveling squad, and also against our UK sister club, the iconic Leeds Rhinos, on their visit to FL for training camp. I think I took a lot from those experiences that I can bring to leading this team again this year as we fight to represent the Southern Conference in the USARL (USA Rugby League) National Championship. I’m excited about most of the team returning and can’t wait to get started training with the boys.
2. What have you been doing for the off season to prepare? – The offseason has been busy with constant training and playing Union Rugby with the local Division 2 team, the Atlanta Renegades. The USA Pioneers game against the Leeds Rhinos was a great experience back in January which really helped see the professional side of the game and also learn a lot to bring back to the team this year during our training sessions.
3. What are you looking forward to most this season? – More than anything I am looking forward to not being the “new guys” in the USARL and really doing some damage throughout the Southeastern Rugby League conference. I think with the core group of guys from last year returning, as well as some new blood to infuse into the roster, we should be competing for the championship this year. Most of us now have a full year of rugby league experience under our belts and I am looking forward to seeing how this team improves from year 1 to year 2.
4. What do you think will be the greatest challenge for the squad? – Looking forward to the 2015 season I think the greatest challenge for the club will be living up to the expectations that we are going to set for ourselves. Last year we were a bit modest, being that we were a brand new club and were learning the ways of the USARL. But, this year we fully expect to compete for the championship and the goals that are going to be laid out from day 1 are going to be extensive and there is going to have to be a lot of hard work put forth from the guys to be able to achieve them.
5. How do you feel the team will do for their second season? – I am very confident heading into 2015. We have a great core of players returning, some new blood to infuse into the team, a great fan base that is interested in the Rhino culture and I know this team will work as hard as they can to bring success to the Atlanta Rhinos season. I plan on the conference as a whole improving so we need to work twice as hard as the competition and begin to make the Atlanta Rhinos brand a success moving forward.