first_imgFor some teams, training for the National Touch League (NTL) is a matter of a short drive in the car, or a trek down the road to your Local Association. Not so for our remote permits who are travelling thousands of kilometres just to compete in the showcase event on the sport’s calendar. Neil ‘Molly’ Collins, player/coach of the Barbarians Men’s 40s team, knows only too well the challenges facing remote permits.“Our players are drawn from the Northern Territory (NT) and Western Australia (WA) but within each state there can be a great distance as well. We have a number of Karratha players this year, which means they have to travel over 1500 kilometres just to get to Perth and then across the country to Coffs Harbour.” Collins said.The geographical and logistical barriers between team mates means the preparation for a team like Barbarians has to be a little more creative. “This year we had our patterns and plays video taped and put on a CD and sent to each player. We also try and get here on the Monday to watch our open teams play and give ourselves that extra day to train together.” Collins said.While the logistics of this venture pose certain challenges, the remote experience is far from a negative one.“There is great camaraderie within the team as a result of having to travel so far and there is now a core of us who enjoy the annual challenge. You know what you are up against and you try and improve aspects of your preparation each time. It’s also great for WA and NT development as many of our players are coaches and managers at the local level and they can take back what they’ve learned and apply it at their local affiliate.” Collins reasoned.The fruits of grass root level labour continue paying handsome dividends for the Barbarians permit, with strength and depth of teams being swelled across numerous divisions.The Barbarians Permit enjoyed their most fruitful NTL campaign to date, recording some impressive results in 2007 in the three premier Open level divisions.The Women’s Open team reached the semi finals for the third year running, the Men’s Open claimed the Plate Final, and the Mixed Open narrowly missed a semi-final berth.Barbarians are one of the real success stories of the NTL, overcoming many obstacles to make their permit a well organized, efficient, and professional outfit that continues to improve on and off the field with each passing year.“Our permit continues to improve with the annual exposure to the elite level that the NTL provides. We’ve worked hard to build a solid infrastructure and now have a good foundation of players and officials to call on each year. Distance, needing extra time off work and limited training are issues but their not issues we can’t overcome.”  Isobel Appo, Northern Territory State Manager said.As the 2007 Seniors NTL rolls on, the Barbarians Men’s 30s and 40s team are looking to consolidate on last year’s performances with their 2008 return never far from their minds.“We will make every effort to be back next year, and are hopeful of adding a Men’s 45s team as well. As long as we can all stay in one piece til then.” Neil Collins said. Barbarians continue their 2007 campaign today facing tough competition in both the Men’s 30s and 40s divisions. Regardless of the result, Barbarians future continues to look promising.last_img