Swinton and McKenzie rewarded for stellar seasons


By NSW Rugby Media

Two of the NSW Waratahs’ brightest young talents have been recognised for stellar debut seasons, with Lachlan Swinton was awarded the Chris Whitaker Medal and Arabella McKenzie named Super W Rookie of the Year.

It’s been a huge season for Swinton – who earned several starts in his 13 caps – bursting onto the scene with some eye-catching performances, typified by lethal defence and a strong ball carry.

The man in which this award is named – NSW Waratahs Assistant, Chris Whitaker – said that Swinton had narrowed in on his strengths and was making t he most of them.

“I think physically he’s really found his straps [this season], I suppose he’s identified the strong points in his game - he loves to tackle, loves the defensive side of things and can make a real impact with that [his defence] and his ball carries,” Whitaker said.

“For a young guy to come in and do what he’s done is pretty impressive, he’s a big solid guy and he’s working out how to use that size to his advantage.

“He’s got a willingness to get involved, and he’s not short of confidence which I think plays to his advantage – Lachy’s not scared to mix it with experienced heads and holds his own, if not dominates in that area.”

Swinton impressed throughout 2019, but really made his mark late in the season against the Rebels at AAMI Park.

“I think that game [against the Rebels] gave him a lot of confidence, defensively he stopped Naisarani dead in his tracks and had a big impact on the result of that game,” Whitaker added.

The next step for Swinton says Whitaker, is harnessing that physical approach and ensuring he can deliver it through the rigours of a Super Rugby season.

“That’s the big challenge for him now, when you play the game as physically as he does it’s then about looking after yourself, getting the right recovery to stay at that level and find consistency in your performance – which he’s well on the way to doing.”

Arabella McKenzie capped off her first Super W season with a Wallaroos debut against Japan, after a breakout season in sky blue.

The outside back was a feature off the bench for Matt Evrard, and earned her first start in her hometown of Bathurst against the Rebels.

"She's still very, very young in her rugby career but we are confident in her skill set and her willingness to put in attacking kicks and take the ball on," Evrard said.

"We've got some pretty experienced players in our team that have played a high level and for her to actually want to challenge them and push the limits of what the team can do, it's a great credit to her.

"I see nothing but a big future ahead of her in rugby, she’s taken every opportunity that’s been put in front of her and that says a lot about her drive to succeed.”

Lachlan Swinton

Arabella McKenzie






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