Young Wallabies playmaker Noah Lolesio has been urged to shed his ‘nice guy’ image and ramp up his assertiveness as he works to nail down the crucial No.10 role.
Backs coach Scott Wisemantel says the 22-year-old was “solid” in Australia’s 25-17 win over South Africa last weekend, but he wants to see him take command when the teams meet again Sydney on Saturday night.
Lolesio was dropped again for the Wallabies’ two Tests in Argentina, replaced by Quade Cooper and James O’Connor, and Wisemantel said even that experience should spark a reaction within Lolesio.
“One thing we really want from Noah is to be a bit more aggressive because he’s such a nice bloke,” he told reporters.
“As a coach … I want him to be filthy if he’s not selected. I want him to come to me and go, ‘why, how are we going to do this and what are you going to do for me?’ because that’s my job.
“It’s not being rude, but in that role as a player who touches the ball more than most players in the team, he has to have that authority and that command and to do that you actually have to practice it daily.
“‘I need you here. I want you here. If you don’t show up, there’s going to be consequences’ … it’s aggressive language, and off the field Noah’s nothing like that.”
The 12-cap Wallaby looms as the five-eighth of the future having accrued such experience at his young age, and certainly looked the part with a hand in each of his team’s three tries last time out against the Springboks.
Wisemantel saw moments within the performance that encouraged him Lolesio could foot the bill as a team leader.
“He was solid, he did his job (but) there’s areas that we can still touch on there,” he said.
“The most impressive thing for me was when we scored that first try with (Fraser) McReight, if you go back two phases beforehand, and you look where Noah is, he’s connected to the forwards.
“But the authority he had with telling him what he wanted, how we wanted it and was organising, that to me was the most impressive part of his game.
“Whether you’re right or wrong, if you’re demanding things, commanding things, then blokes are going to show up for you.”