TEACHING certainly doesn't end at the classroom door for star Griffith Blacks recruit Andre Boon.
While he spends his days as a teacher at Griffith High School, the New Zealander will also be passing on a wealth of knowledge to his teammates throughout the new Southern Inland Rugby Union season.
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A former professional for Welsh rugby league club the Crusaders, Boon has quickly become one of the most respected figures at the Blacks after following his wife and moving to the city late last year.
The battle-hardened 37-year-old will pull on a Blacks jersey for the first time in Cootamundra next week for Griffith's first trial match of the year and he hopes the occasion marks the start of something special at the club this season.
"I'm hoping to provide a bit of guidance to some of our younger players, because there's some very keen ones coming through the ranks," he said.
"Being a teacher is a great asset. I know every person has a different trigger point in handing over skills, so being able to communicate effectively is going to help me get the best out of everybody.
"The guys are really gelling, there's a lot of camaraderie within the club. There's a bunch of new players and a bunch of old heads and we seem to be a great mix."
Boon is one of a series of key signings for the Blacks this season, alongside fellow Griffith High teacher Tom Russell, Frenchman Mathias Alard and former Waratah Tigers coach Enoch Tia.
"All the guys have taken to Andre really easily and he's stepped up into that leadership role," coach Lee Kimball said.
"He really wants to help and contribute and he's a real gentleman, to be honest. I think the real proof in the pudding will be when we get on the paddock and see him play first hand."
Boon's is likely to feature at inside centre in the early stages of the season before shifting to his preferred ball-handling role in midfield once he is more comfortable with his surroundings.
"I'm really looking forward to the first hit-out. Those first few tackles are going to be the ones that tell," he said.