Tristan Van Rhee came into the Barons' rookie mini camp as the biggest unknown from the draft. It was certain the Barons planned to start him, but his role was an enigma.
"I gained a great deal of respect for the person Yap is before I even knew I'd be a coach in this league. When I attended my son's(Roland Woods, WR- Dublin Shamrocks) games last year, he stood out in his support and love for the league. Things happened, I took over here in Brooklyn, and was given the opportunity to coach in the rookie series. Being able to work with the young guys and seeing other young guys work with established RFL coaches was a great opportunity for me. The versatility Yap showed on tape shot him up our draft board. He had a 6th round grade but, we grabbed him in the 3rd because we knew the type of guy we were getting now, and what we believe he will grow into." -Coach Woods
The biggest obstacle for the Barons would be if TVR could transition from a 4-3 DE to a 3-4. Did he have the size and strength to play on the line, or the speed and awareness to play OLB?
"I couldn't understand why scouts wanted to limit him. We run a system when our DE(s) drop into coverage. Instead of being pigeonholed to one position, we move Yap around. He'll be at DE, DT and OLB. We want to grow ALL his trades and see where he gravitates. It made his development come along a little slower, but the results have been worth the wait. I'm going to love watching him grow in this defense and establish himself in the RFL." -Coach Woods
Though the preseason was quiet in comparison to his rookie DL counterpart, TVR has started to make the standout plays Coach Woods expected when deciding to draft him. Currently second on the team in sacks(5.5), Van Rhee's late game performance was instrumental in the Barons' upset win versus Toronto. We sat down with our future star to get his views on the season so far.
How are you doing tonight?
I am doing well thank you.
What was it like hearing your name called by the Barons in the draft?
Hearing my name being called by the Barons was a dream come true for my character.
How would you describe your game as a player?
My game as a player would be smashmouth and gritty. I play hard from whistle to whistle trying to get the tackle or sack.
How would you describe your season so far?
My season so far has been great. I get to help improve the Barons defense and see myself get sacks.
What is your main goal as a rookie coming into this season?
My main goal for my rookie season is to get the rookie record for most sacks.
Are there any milestones you would like to achieve this season?
Aside from the rookie record for sacks I would like to get a lot of tackles but I’d be happy with either.
Which Barons' game has been your favorite so far?
I enjoyed all the games so far. My favorite one is... I can’t remember who we were playing but I managed to get a fumble recovery. (Crusaders Week 2)
Who is your favorite player on the team outside of yourself?
Maur. (Cheeseburger Rivers, NT)
Favorite Jersey: Blue or White
Any Nicknames in the Locker Room?
Multiyapples is my nickname. Or Yap as Coach Woods likes to call me.
As we inch towards the second half of the season, the Barons' defensive staff will continue to monitor the growth and development of Tristan Van Rhee.
"If he can be HALF as good a player as he is a person, Yap could easily be a superstar player in this league." -Coach Woods
Up Next… Barons Interview Rookie NT Maur "Cheeseburger" Rivers