Dalton back on Tyneside after Gold Coast game time

Monday 15 August 2022 Written by: Adam

The 23-year-old Northern Irishman is going into his second season at Kingston Park, and explained how three months down under has seen him hitting the ground running in terms of game sharpness.

“I left at the end of last season to go and get some game time in Australia,” said Dalton, the former Ireland Under-20s international who made his professional breakthrough with Ulster.

“I was playing with Bond University on the Gold Coast. The head coach there is a guy called Grant Anderson, whose career included a brief spell playing prop with Newcastle Falcons back in the day.

“He’s doing well over in Australia and it’s great for him to have that little link back to Newcastle, and they’re trying to bring over a few more European boys because the seasons actually align quite well.

“I had three months there in the end, and really enjoyed it.

“I got a lot of game time, which was the main thing, and it was a chance to be exposed to a different speed and style of game. A lot of that is down to the weather, and I lost a few kilos in sweat during my first game!”

Dalton added: “Bond University play in the Queensland Premier competition. When the Super Rugby season isn’t running a lot of their guys drop back to Sydney or Queensland to play some rugby, and it was a good standard.

“I was playing back row and second row for them, and it was a chance to be a bit more confident in myself. I knew I needed to be a bit more assertive, and then the opportunity to get some match fitness was also fantastic. No training can really compare to the fitness you can get from playing games week in, week out, and just the whole thing of being switched on for games when they come round.”

Maintaining a link with Newcastle Falcons despite being on the other side of the world, he explained: “Bond University aren’t fully professional so they train two nights a week and play on a weekend, but I’ve been keeping in touch with the coaches back home and had programmes sent over to do during the week.

“I had a lot of free time during the day so I’ve still been doing a lot of conditioning, although I’ll definitely feel it in the legs and lungs this week when I’m back to the Falcons’ full training schedule!”

Keen to push on during his second season at Kingston Park and add to his two first-team appearances, Dalton insisted: “Everybody says it, but a big focus for me this year is trying to get some more game time.

“This stint down in Oz has done me well because I’ve been able to play a lot of rugby, whereas last season with the way the schedule was, there was only a couple of Prem Cup games.

“It was my first season at a Premiership club so I wasn’t expecting too much, but at the same time I would have liked some more game time. I know I have to earn that, and I’m just looking forward to the opportunity of pushing on and trying to get on the field.

“As good as it was in Australia with the weather and all that, I was definitely craving a bit of the Toon and being back in that Falcons environment.

“It’s a good time to come back because we’ve got the Leicester game a week on Friday and then seven games in September, so most boys will be getting an opportunity in one form or another during that period.”

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[1]: https://www.eticketing.co.uk/newcastle-falcons/EDP/Season/Index/1702?returnUrl=/newcastle-falcons/Seasons/Seasons