Rookie (Re)focus: Tom McQuillin

Rookie (Re)focus: Tom McQuillin

Having previously spoken to Tom back in the pre-season before he’d played his first competitive game, we caught up with him again to see how he’s feeling now that he’s over halfway through his first season with the #CheetahPride!

Tom’s enjoyed a good start to his time in Black and Yellow, having had a chance to make his mark and becoming a legitimate red zone threat as a taller wideout. Here’s what he had to say…

Tom we’re now five games in. How have things changed for you since the pre-season?

It’s now much more competitive and you can tell the team is really focused on the end goal. We’ve seen a little bit of what we can achieve as a unit now and I think that has made everyone even more excited and that’s a good feeling!

What has been your favourite moment?

I think my favourite moment was my second ever TD for the cheetahs. It was against Hastings and although it wasn’t really impactful on the final result it had come on 4th down and long after a little bit of a scuffle with the tensions high. Hearing the sideline get really hyped was an awesome moment and it was also Jacques’ first TD pass which was a special moment because we’ve very much been learning together since the first rookie days. So that really stands out as a pretty cool moment for me!

Photo: Mark Long Sport
Photo: Mark Long Sport

And what about the biggest challenge so far?

I think the biggest challenge was probably coming back from being hit by that car (Tom missed some time after a hit-and-run incident). I missed quite a few training sessions and getting back into the swing of things was a bit of a struggle and I think I was a little too critical of myself for not being up and running as quickly as I’d like.

You said your goals were to continue personal development and help the team achieve its objectives. How’s that going so far?

Well the team hasn’t achieved it’s objectives yet so I’m hoping to keep working hard towards them in whatever capacity. But in terms of personal development I feel like I’m learning lots and I’m realising what I’m good at, but particularly what I’m not so good at!

Offensive Coordinator Will Sparke has been impressed by the rookie this season. He said “Tom came down as a rookie this year and has really impressed with his physicality and drive to improve. He has quickly established himself as a dangerous weapon on the outside and we very much look forward to the step he will likely make going into his second year as a Cheetah. To be frank, we have been very impressed with his rookie year so far and will be looking to see his involvement in the offence continue to expand. As he begins to find his feet and improve his situational awareness, we expect Tom to continue to improve and the results should speak for themselves”.

Tom’s unit coach, WR guru James Bath, is excited about Tom’s future with the Cheetahs. “Tom’s background in athletics has allowed him to transition smoothly into a position where speed plays such a pivotal role. He works hard, both on and off the field, and his commitment to learning and improving is evident. Both in training and in games, he has shown flashes of brilliance and once he has a few more games of experience under his belt he will be a truly frightening prospect for opposing DBs. As a WR coach, I’m incredibly lucky to have gained such as talented athlete to work with.”

 

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