Rugby just the trick for Luke
“I came home thinking that next season is going to be better than last in terms of my fitness levels and the little skills I’ve picked up and I’m looking forward to putting them into a game next year,” he said.
And if this season is anything to go by, next year is going to be a ripper.
The 17-year-old burst onto the scene this year after making his first grade debut against Coolangatta-Tweed mid-season.
Coach Brad Stamp said he made an immediate impact.
“Schaef came on and he was just technically brilliant,” he said.
“He was very young but his read of the game and his skills were so developed that he gave away 20kg to most of the opposition but was far superior in skill development.
“He never lost that spot.
“He’d come up to me after training on a Thursday and ask what I wanted him to do – there wasn’t a time where he came off from a game and hadn’t executed his directions.
“He is just a thinker and a pleasure to coach.”
Schaefer was named Lennox’s rookie of the year after helping them win their first first-grade premiership but was picked in the Country squad based on his performance for the Far North Coast representative team.
They lost the their first match against a Uruguay Possibles-Probables under-18s World Cup team 18-13, but Schaefer relished the step up in class.
“Playing the Uruguay side was the highlight just because how good their forwards were and what I took out of that game,” he said.
“Their forwards were something I’ve never seen before.
“Their structure and malls were excellent, really well rehearsed.
“We were no contest at the break downs.
“They worked in packs of four. It wasn’t one pack it was two utility packs who were unbelievably fit for their size and able to structure themselves in rucks that we just couldn’t defend against.
“There were a lot of things I’ll take away and hopefully incorporate into my game.”
The Country squad lost games to a Rosario representative team and the Argentina under-18s before winning their last match against an elite schoolboys outfit.
At the end of the tour, Schaefer was given a coaches award for the improvement he showed from each match.
“There was a pretty high coaching standard ... a different style of rugby, something you don’t get playing locally,” he said.
“I asked them how I could improve my game and they said I’d improved out of sight from the first game.”
Schaefer said this season would likely be his last in local footy before heading to Sydney.