Kurt Hancock has almost become synonymous with the Western Rams.
One of the most experienced coaches in the region - having coached St Pat's to the 2014 Group 10 title - Hancock will lead a Rams junior outfit into the country championships semi-final for the fourth successive year this weekend.
The current Rams under 18s coach has worked with many of the region's most exciting talents, some of which have graduated from the Western pathway and gone on to play in the NRL.
It's something that's not lost on Hancock, and he admits despite all he's done during his decades of involvement in the game as player and coach he now couldn't see himself doing anything else.
"I was in Sydney and at the Newcastle Knights and it makes you a bit of a different person," he said of his playing days.
"I was probably too intense but here I've learnt a lot and these kids have helped me in my footy, too, and the way I go about things. I owe them one as well."
Hancock is part of a small group of coaches in the region who doesn't watch a game on the bench with his side.
On game day you can most often find him at one end of the field, sitting alone and taking it all in while sometimes chatting with players' families and friends sitting nearby.
He studies the game and keeps in contact with his players regularly during the week before or after a match, checking in on how they're doing and helping them focused or relaxed, if need be.
It develops the relationships that he still keeps with many former Rams now and it's that and the commitment he gets from everyone in the largest geographical division in NSW Rugby League that means the most.
"You do feel proud. Privileged a little, too, that you get to work with these kids," he said.
"Being from Kempsey, I know they're struggling up there to get kids even to train and out here you could say we're pretty blessed.
"We've got good numbers, they play at a good level, and Mum and Dad don't care if they have to drive their kid two or three hours to train or play.
"You do feel privileged and we're building a bit of an honour role now."
Matt Burton is one of the players headlining the current batch of youngsters who have gone from the Andrew Johns Cup and Laurie Daley Cup and reached the NRL.
After making his debut for Penrith last year the former St John's junior will link with the Canterbury Bulldogs in a big money deal next season while Forbes product Charlie Staines is also playing at Penrith and Darby Medlyn has gone from Parkes to the Canberra Raiders.
Plenty of others, such as Luke Gale and Brad Fearnley, remain with NRL clubs and are still pushing for a top grade debut
"There's a couple at the Panthers and number of others around the traps in the NRL or at other feeder clubs and that's not to mention the ones who go and train and trial and are now back and playing first grade around here to strengthen it," Hancock said.
"You still get them ringing you, too, and they touch base. I get the most satisfaction out of that. These kids still hold relationships with myself and others in the coaching staff at the Rams.
"You get to spend a couple of years with them and you see them develop not only as players but as people and personalities."
Hancock's current Western Rams under 18s side is also loaded with talented players, with Finnley Neilsen one who has had plenty of interest from NRL clubs in recent years.
The under 18s meet the Greater Northern Tigers in the Laurie Daley Cup semi-final on Sunday at Waratah Park in Kandos.
Kick-off is at 11am.
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