The Brisbane-based rugby league coordinator has joined former Marsden students, dual international Israel Folau and Australian Kangaroos skipper Cameron Smith, in pulling on the green and gold, but not in rugby union or rugby league.
The former New South Welshman is one of our best Oztag players.
“Oztag’s essentially rugby league but without the tackle,” Hartigan says.
“It involves players wearing tags, so a lot of the rules are similar to your rugby league rules, particularly in relation to passing, penalties, all of those are similar, it’s just a non-contact version.”
Hartigan was selected for the Australian team to play in a tournament called the Big 4 in Sydney involving Lebanon, the Pacific Islands, New Zealand, Australia and an Indigenous Australian side, but a curve ball arrived in the shape of an unwelcome weather event.
“Torrential rain meant the tournament had to be moved to September,” Hartigan says.
Undeterred, it’s meant the HPE teacher can focus all of his attention on lifting his school’s league program to the lofty heights of his former private school in Sydney.
Hartigan was part of a Patrician Brothers Blacktown program that won the schoolboys’ national title in 2013.
“I’ve been really blown away by the potential that is here, and I’m just currently trying to make sure that the school is where it needs to be in terms of the support – both financially and from the external rugby league community.
"That’s probably the big difference I’ve found."
“I’ve come from an environment where we were pretty much the best, if not the second best, for a long time, but that was built on first of all building good people, and then obviously building good players,” he says.
“Here at Marsden I’m just trying to make sure the kids have the best pathways and opportunities, resources to achieve their ultimate best.”
And for Oztag this year things could also get interesting as Hartigan faces swapping his beloved NSW light blue for the mighty maroon of Queensland.
“It’s funny, coz I’ve also represented NSW in Oztag State of Origin, but the way the allegiance works is that it’s actually determined by where you’re playing, so this year could be my first year in the Maroons jersey. (laughs)”