SOME of the best mentors the sport of touch football has to offer have provided David Stone with countless hours of knowledge over the years.
And he is hopeful those words of wisdom will hold him in good stead at representative level after he was announced as the NSW assistant coach for the State of Origin series in Coffs Harbour on June 18-19.
The Port Macquarie product is hopeful he won't have to wait too much longer to register his first success at State of Origin level when he helps guide the Blues' mixed open team.
His only taste of the interstate rivalry came from the coaching box in 2018 as assistant with the under-20s team.
"I never made State of Origin as a player, but I realised when it was my time to finish," Stone said.
"An opportunity then came up where one of my mentors said if I wanted to give coaching a good crack, I had to take it up and give playing away.
"An opportunity then came up where one of my mentors said if I wanted to give coaching a good crack, I had to take it up and give playing away."David Stone
"I'm a bit of a fossil now and had too many injuries. My playing career wasn't going to go any further and I always wanted to give back to the sport that gave me a lot."
Stone admits he's already been lucky to have received guidance from a who's who of touch football coaches - to start with he had Peter Vincent, then Tony Trad, followed by Dave Nolan and now Karley Banks.
"Tony is arguably the best-ever coach when it comes to touch football, and with Dave Nolan unfortunately we didn't get the result with the 20s (in 2018), but I did get the feel of what Origin is all about," he said.
"I had some success at Australian level with Karley in the under-18s and Vino obviously is at Port Macquarie and knows what touch football is all about.
"They're all very different coaches."
"I had some success at Australian level with Karley in the under-18s and Vino obviously is at Port Macquarie and knows what touch football is all about."David Stone
In coming years he hopes to put his own stamp on many Blues sides which will no doubt have his past coaches' fingerprints all over them.
But Stone also wants to create his own style having led Northern Eagles to a quarter-final spot in the National Touch League last month.
"If I can take little bits from each one of them and then put my own coaching spin on, I'm going to be on the right track," Stone said.
Having placed an emphasis on junior development means he sees his appointment with the Blues' mixed open side as a chance to finetune his own coaching skills.
After a taste as an assistant with the under-20s, Stone is focused on making the step up to head coach in coming years.
"Through the years I have tried to do things over a three or four-year stint because I don't believe you can get results as a one-off ... you've got to have building blocks."David Stone
"My future goal is with junior pathways; maybe in the future I can get a 20s lead coaching role and then be able to put my flavour on the sport," he said.
"Through the years I have tried to do things over a three or four-year stint because I don't believe you can get results as a one-off ... you've got to have building blocks.
"You can't have one year where you expect instant success, you've got to have stepping stones in place and get higher and higher with your finishes.
"I've had that with other teams over two or three year stints and got results in the end. Hopefully with Karley we can do that again now."
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