The season proper is still a month away, but it’s already been a big year for the O’Meleys.
Mark O’Meley’s rise through the NSWRL Pathways coaching staff has been a welcome one for the state’s junior Origin stars, with the former NSW and Australian prop last week unveiled as the coach of the NSW Under-18s. His son Nick, too, has enjoyed a boost to his own development.
A local junior of the Wyong Roos, Nick O’Meley played with the club through the grades until being picked up by the Roosters in 2015, where he has since played in the Holden Cup. It’s been a special homecoming for the 19-year-old, who returns to the Central Coast for the upcoming season.
“Being my junior club, it was quite welcoming,” O’Meley tells NSWRL.com.au. “I’ve enjoyed it, being home, training with everyone. It’s been physical, hard, as expected.”
A particularly special Rugby League moment occurred in 2015 when father and son, aged 17 years apart, joined forces for the Roos in the local competition, playing their role in a 44-4 thrashing of Umina. It’s a memory which will live on with Nick O’Meley forever as he continues to forge a career in the game.
“That’s one you never forget really, playing with your dad,” O’Meley says. “It brought a whole different aura to the field.
“I haven’t looked at my dad the same since then, I’ve looked at him as another player as well as a father figure. I still look back and really appreciate that moment.”
The NSW True Blue’s recent appointment is a significant one for the state, given its historic dominance in junior Origin matches. For Nick O’Meley, who has been coached by his father his whole life, it seems a fitting role.
“He enjoys giving back to the juniors, teaching them all he knows and giving back to the game that gives so much to him,” O’Meley adds.
“He’s still my biggest critic. Him and my mum, after every game, they’re always the first people I speak to about football. He’s usually at every game he can be.”
A big season awaits for the promising fullback and centre, who will first look to secure a starting spot in the Intrust Super Premiership before pressing for an NRL debut. The Roos’ premiership campaign will begin on Saturday, 10 March when they take on the Newtown Jets at Morry Breen Oval.