FROM PADDOCK TO FIELD: Tom Yates is the captain coach of The Rock-Yerong Creek and he also farms in the Riverina

THE Riverina is home to some of the finest agricultural producers in Australia. It is also a region that is renowned for sporting success stories.

It is not unusual for an individual to juggle the commitments of working in a family farming business or the rural sector and then backing it up with several sessions of strenuous training a week to meet their sporting goals. This week The Rural talks to footy and farming success story, Tom Yates. The Yates name is also synonymous with agricultural production and stud Poll Dorsets and White Suffolks. 

Tom Yates of Yerong Creek is a fourth generation farmer. He helps to run the “Barwon” property in southern NSW. The family grows 1230-hectares of winter crop and runs 1000 cross bred ewes as well as an accompanying prime lamb enterprise. 

The Yates name is attached to the successful ram-breeding business which produces top genetics for Poll Dorset and White Suffolk producers under the prefix of Barwon. 

Yates is also the captain coach of The Rock-Yerong Creek. This means he has to be at the top of his game both ‘in the paddock, and on the field.’

Winning is something that he talks openly about. He has goals and has implemented a plan to get the best from his fellow players and teammates. 

Yates took to the field to play Aussie rules when he was just six. He pulled on the characteristic Magpies colours at The Rock and did his best to develop some skills that would later stand him in good stead.

Premierships have flowed into his path and he has a list of enviable wins on his resume. 

Premierships include:

  • 2004 TRYC
  • 2006 TRYC
  • 2009 Albury reserves
  • 2010 Albury
  • 2011 Albury
  • 2014 Albury
  • 2015 TRYC

Footy training is rigorous. And it always comes after a day of helping to run the livestock and cropping enterprises at Yerong Creek.

“If you train half paced you play half paced … you have to put your best foot forward,” he said. “You can’t win without the right preparation.”

“There is no better feeling than getting the win and walking off and seeing the supporters,” he said.

Yates said in a club like The Rock-Yerong Creek, which is in the Farrer League, the supporters were the heart and soul of footy. He said they were the people who made events happen and they were the ones who ultimately the team wanted to win for. 

“Getting a win is always a pretty special feeling,” he said. 

Taking on the role of captain coach is something that Yates doesn’t take lightly.

“Its a time consuming job,” he said.

“And sometimes it can be a juggling act, getting things done here ... and training as well,” he said. 

Aside from the competitive nature of playing footy Yates said the social outlet was invaluable. “It is an outing, when you live on a farm footy is a chance to catch up with everyone,” he said.

He also encouraged people to support their local footy and sporting clubs and to enjoy the camaraderie they offer. 

“If you don’t play for your local club there won’t be a local club,” he said. 

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