Falcons Fly Half is amongst six players shortlisted for Newcastle Falcons' Heineken Fans Star of the Season Award 2015
Newcastle Falcons fly half Tom Catterick says his appearance on the shortlist for the Heineken Fans Star of the Season award was a welcome surprise and believes that his shift into the Fly Half position played a key role in his nomination.
Having spent the majority of his Falcons career in the role of utility back, the 24 year old has this season seized on the opportunity to make the number 10 shirt his own and play a big part in the attack focused play that has been entertaining supporters this season.
“It’s really good to be shortlisted and I was actually really surprised, because compared to the other boys on the list I didn’t think I particularly deserved to be there to be honest and that’s not just fishing for a complement, but the other boys have played consistently well throughout the year, whereas I’ve just been involved in a few games towards the end.”
“I think it was mainly the change of position, which came as a surprise to a lot of people, including myself. I think that change allowed me to have a bit more balance to my game and allowed me to show off certain parts of my game that people maybe didn’t know I had, like my goal kicking or my tactical kicking. Your probably don’t see as much of that from the wing or fullback.”
“Going back into that position, I was really nervous, but with each game, I got more and more comfortable. I’ve learned a huge amount from getting a run in that position, I feel it can only benefit me and us as a team.”
“I always used to say being a utility back was nice because it meant you would always be in or around the team and have some but I think now, the coaches have said they want me to play 10, so that’s my position nailed down and it’s time to settle down and work hard at that position.”
Already doing the hard yards Catterick says that, although there are bits of his first prolonged tenure as a Fly Half since his junior rugby days that he is happy with, there is still plenty to work on if he wants to become the latest in a long line of exceptional 10’s at Kingston Park.
“I think the biggest thing is to just be consistent for 80 minutes. Every game I’ve had good bits and then mistakes that have cost us. Being consistently good throughout the game and then I can look to bring in those certain things, like a line break or two.”
“I need to cut out the silly mistakes or the lapses of concentration, obviously I don’t do them on purpose but I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve learned in the games I’ve played, you can’t afford those lapses in the Premiership because they will cost you points.”
“Biggest thing I can learn is to once you’ve made a mistake, it doesn’t have to fixed straight after, it’s just the next action has to be a solid one. I think my problem is that I’ll try and force the next thing and try and make an impact rather than just doing the basic things and I think all the boys will say that we need to do that as a team.”
Away from areas that he wishes to improve, Catterick can look back on a season that has seen him not only get a run of games in the first team, but also seen him gain valuable experience of captaincy and of being away with England.
“It’s definitely been a good year and everything has been an experience, from captaining the Falcons sevens at the start of the year to going away with England 7s.”
“Being one of the older ones in the Falcons 7s squad and being captain really helped me develop as a person and as a player and was amazing, even if it was a shame how we did in the second tournament at Quins.”
“Then going away with England, is something I will never forget. It’s an experience that has helped me no end to become the best I could be this year. I went down there and came back from the camp with so much confidence, even though we didn’t do that well, the environment down there with Simon Amor and the coaches, just makes you believe you can do anything as long as you prepare well and do things right.”
“That really helped me in 15’s when I came back to Newcastle. Even the coaches said I came back with a load of confidence and I really showed it and then I got my opportunity to play 10 and since then, I’ve tried not to look back too much and just look forward.”
With votes already flooding in to determine the winner of the Heineken Fans Player of the Season, the award is currently finely poised and for Catterick, it is a tough call as to who gets his vote, but one that ultimately goes the way of one of his fellow backs.
“This is a hard one and I had this conversation with my girlfriend the other day. I think Mark Wilson and Will Welch have been so consistently good all year, I’m so surprised they haven’t had an England cap yet, but I would have to go with Sinoti Sinoti. He has just been unbelievably good in pretty much every game he has played.”
“It might be because I’m a back and he does all of the flash stuff, but he is just unbelievable to watch. He does things you can only dream of doing.”
“It’s possibly a bit unfair on Welchy and Wills, but Notz just does things and you wonder how he does it and it’s not like he’s six foot six and 200kg, he’s a short guy but he’s just so powerful, it’s amazing to watch and I am just glad he is on our team.”
With only two games remaining in the 2014/15 season, Catterick and his team mates will soon be turning their attentions towards the new campaign, which gets underway in October.
Before that, the Singha Premiership 7s, a match against the Georgian national team and the Kings of the North tournament against Leicester Tigers and Sale Sharks all come first and Catterick intends to use the summer as a chance to refresh and prepare in order to hit the ground running.
“I’ve just bought a place up here so I can’t really afford to be jetting away on holidays so I’m going to take a few days off after the season, enjoy the Big Bash, have a few drinks with the boys who are leaving and then have a team social at the end of everything.”
“Then I’ll be training throughout the summer. I’ve got some things lined up with a few gyms to do stuff away from the club, not specifically rugby training, just some fitness stuff and some weights and just come back in as good a shape as I possibly can be.”
“I’m a big believer that you have to let your mind have some time away from rugby, so I’ll be looking to do something different, maybe take up surfing!”
Is Tom Catterick your Newcastle Falcons Heineken Fans Star of the Season? Votes are open until 5pm on Friday 15th May for fans to cast their votes and be in with the chance of winning two tickets to the club’s end of season celebration and award ceremony on 19th May at Kingston Park.
Click here to cast your vote and enter the competition to win this and other prizes. Each fan is allowed one vote per day up to and including the final deadline.