TOYOTA CUP TRIALS
|BULLDOG BACK: Former Milton Ulladulla Bulldogs player Luke Dudgeon is expected to return home this weekend to play in the Raiders West Tigers Toyota Cup clash at Mollymook Oval on Saturday.
Rugby League will be the focus point throughout the region this week prior to the first official Toyota Cup trial this year between Canberra Raiders and Sydney's West Tigers to be played this Saturday at Mollymook-Andriske Oval commencing at 10.30am.
As part of the newly formed 16-team national youth competition to commence next month, both the Raiders and the Tigers are keen to showcase their best young players this Saturday in the first Toyota Cup full-scale trial to be played in the state and a great opportunity for players to make an immediate impression upon respective club selectors.
The 'green machine' has purchased several good youngsters in the off-season with Todd Grace (Penrith), Zachary Russ (Parramatta) and Zachary Merritt (Forbes) keen to impress selectors and cement a permanent position along with Australian junior Kangaroo representatives Joel Thompson (North Queensland), Nick Skinner and Michael Brophy.
The Tigers, under coach Peter Gentle, also have a quality squad of worthwhile youngsters that will include Australian Junior Kangaroo vice-captain Wade Dunley along with key new signings Benson Tupou and Noah Totu from Leeton and Matt Davidson from Parramatta and many other NRL stars of the future.
Players in the trial, for the first time, will be using yellow footballs in preparation for Toyota Cup scheduled night matches to be played later this year with this Saturday mornings hit-out being controlled by the Group Seven referees association.
The exciting clash and family morning outing will be hosted by the Milton-Ulladulla Bulldogs senior club with full amenities available to all members of the public with a donation at the gate to assist the locals.
Meanwhile, last years Bulldog under 18s pivot Ashley Hatch was named captain of this years Group Seven under 18s representative squad last week and two former Bulldog legends in Sid Turnbull and Noel Turnbull continue to make steady progress after recent bouts of illness.
The local senior Bulldogs are now in full training mode every Tuesday and Thursday nights at 6pm before the local's trial against Thirroul on Sunday, March 16, at Mollymook-Andriske Oval before the premiership proper commences on Sunday, April 6, with the Dogs playing Batemans Bay at McKay Park.
NRL INDUCTION CAMP FULL OF RESPECT
|Billy Williams talked about peoples cultures, which includes the culture at your local footy club too. ( Photo : ourfooty media)
|Jay Aston and this group listen to Jason Stevens at the NRL Induction Camp ( Photo : ourfooty media)
The NRL have successfully completed the final NRL Inducion Camp for the new National Under 20 competition, the Toyota Cup.
The last four teams from NRL clubs the Melbourne Storm, Newcastle Knights, Penrith Panthers & the Canberra Raiders attended this camp which began on Friday and ended yesterday afternoon.
The talented young footballer were given the drum by Toyota Cup boss Michael Buettner, "We don't hide the fact that some of these guys are going to miss out," Buettner said. "That is the harsh reality."
Rather that crush the dreams of these kids, the NRL works hard to make the player relise that not every one will play for Australia and that they have an excellent opportunity to use these new life skills in every day life and in their work place.
As part of their contracts, the players must study or work at least from Tuesday to Thursday, to prepare for life after football, said Buettner.
"We've implemented mandated non-training hours Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday where they are not allowed to train during business hours.
"It is why we have emphasised the importance of education and welfare for players by encouraging players to be in either study or employment opportunities.
The NRL is conscious of players' limited career span and how easily injuries can shorten that.
"When you use the term thrown to the scrapheap that's the way professional sport is," Buettner said.
"Unfortunately if you do get some career-ending injury, then clubs will do their very best to support and help out but you're no longer any value on the field."
Employment : As NRL players, players are employed by their footy club. Although a professional rugby league players is a little more glamourous than the rest of us mere mortals.
Playing foor for a living may bring fame, fortune & fantastic girls, it is still a job, the boyz learned a lot to do with employment obligations.
NRL education and welfare officer Jason Stevens was joined by Paul Mellor who's NRL carrer spanned 17 years.
Jason Stevens told players that if it was not for education "i wouldn't have my job with the NRL, i have done a Business Masters course"
Finances were discussed in length by Joel Caine, basically Joel said not to go crazy and buy a flash new car, keep your heap, save your cash, invest in stuff, but importantly, keep your eyes on the ball, football that is, football careers.
On saturday morning the Raiders & Panthers team went across the road to Sydney Uni to train in the rain, then breakfast was on, you don't want to be an egg or a piece of bacon at any of the NRL education camp, these boyz can eat.
FUTURE STARS @ NRL INDUCTION CAMP
|Jay Aston & the Melbourne Storm Boyz at the NRL Induction Day 1
|Greg Waddell & the Penrith Panthers Boyz at the NRL Induction Day 1
|Newcastle Knight Boyz at the NRL Induction Day 1
|Billy Williams both entertained and taught the boyz some valuable lessons on the 1st day of the NRL Toyota Cup induction day (Photo's : ourfooty media)
The NRL’s next generation of stars will this weekend complete the most progressive development program for elite junior athletes in Australian professional sport as part of their build-up to the inaugural Toyota Cup national youth competition.
One hundred players from the Storm, Knights, Panthers and Raiders are undertaking a two-day intensive course in Sydney today and tomorrow that focuses on cultural awareness, money matters, marketing, community work, media training and the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
It is the fourth and final induction camp, with Toyota Cup players from the other 12 NRL clubs having previously attended camps in Sydney and Brisbane.
While the NRL and other Australian professional sports have developed comprehensive induction and education programs for rookie and senior players, this program is the first of its type for a national youth competition and sets new standards in the way junior players prepare for life as professional athletes.
The Toyota Cup, for under 20 players, is itself a ground-breaking competition that will develop players’ skills on the field as well as provide educational and workplace opportunities that will significantly enhance career prospects for them off the field.
“These young men have completed the most comprehensive off-field training program that has even been provided for elite junior Rugby League players,” Toyota Cup Manager Michael Buettner said.
“It is a platform for them to succeed on the field, to prepare for the challenges that confront modern-day athletes and, most importantly, to build a rewarding career for life after football.
“We are giving players the chance to compete in an elite junior competition week to week on the same stage as NRL stars, but we are also offering them the opportunity to build a career beyond football and that is a huge incentive for any young athlete.”
Former New Zealand international Tony Iro, who will coach the Warriors in the Toyota Cup, says the induction camps are a fundamental component of preparing young players for the realities of professional sport.
“It’s good for the players to realise that just because they are playing in the Toyota Cup isn’t a guarantee that they’re going to earn big money and be a superstar NRL player,” Iro said.
“This camp teaches them the importance of balance and the importance of their other careers.”
The inaugural Toyota Cup competition kicks off on Friday, March 14 – the first round of the Telstra Premiership.
|The National Rugby League are conducting the final Toyota Cup Induction Camp at Sydney University this Friday and Saturday 18 - 19 January.
Should be a good opportunity for these talented young football players, they will at least have the knowledge to steer their careers to the try line rather than to the sin bin.
|NRL U20's 2008 Playing Squads, 2008 Toyota Cup National Youth Competition
Tyson Andrews - from Sunshine Coast
Arthur Brown - from Sunshine Coast
Josh Coyle - from Burleigh
Alex Glenn - from Burleigh Queensland Cup
Ben Hunt - from Yepoon
Luke Samoa - from Norths Devils
Tariq Sims - from Illawarra
Jharal Yow Yeh - from Norths Devils
Kerryn Blake, Tom Butterfield, Shaun Cotter, Rodney Davies, Mitchell Dodds, Jacob Faiud, Guy Ford, Matt Handcock, Josh Hoffman, Joel Moon, Leon Panapa, Wiremy Ratana, Michael Spence, Nathan Strudwick, Dave Taylor, Tim Yee.
Josh McGuire, Pat McPherson, Billy Rogers, Simona Vavenga, Troyden Watene-Edwards.
Diego Codyre - from Souths Logan Colts
Todd Grace - from Penrith SG Ball
Sam Mataora - from Souths Brisbane
Zac Merritt - from Forbes
Zac Russ - from Parramatta Jersey Flegg
Daniel Sleeman - from Toowoomba
Matt Smith - from Wynnum Manly Queensland Cup
Joel Thompson - from Norths Queensland Cup
Daniel Vidot - from Souths Logan Colts
Travis Waddell - from Souths Logan Colts
Michael Brophy, Andrew Edwards, Sean Fensom, Kose Lelai, Dan Scanlon, Nick Skinner, James Stuart.
Jack Ayamiseba, Matt Campbell, Mick Picker, Ben Sione, Chris Thorley.
Paki Afu - from Auckland
Matt Bega - from Gordon RU
Jim Fawcett - Umina
Josh Foley - Central Coast Jersey Flegg
Jake Foster - from North Sydney Jersey Flegg
Rhys Jack - from Balmain SG Ball
Ben James - from Western Sydney SG Ball
Malcolm Leaeno - from St George SG Ball
Alvin Matavao - from Sydney City SG Ball
Tristan Nisbet - from Milton Ulladulla
Chevvy Penehoe - from Penrith Jersey Flegg
Liam Roach - from Balmain SG Ball
Sene Tala - from St George Illawarra Premier League
Nathan Tannous - from Parramatta Jersey Flegg
Robert Worsley - from Cronulla Premier League/ Jersey Flegg
Harlan Alaalatoa, Ben Barba, Josh Bishop, Nathan Dib, Daniel Folkes, Daniel Harrison, Brendan Hikaka, John Kite, David Langi, Heka Nanai, Kele Nuisere, Mason Pure, Josh Reynolds, Nathan Smith.
Shannon Cross, Daniel Ezekiel.
| New Players:
Troy Adams - from Balmain Jersey Flegg
Kopelagi Alofipo - from Griffith
Alex Butchies - from Lennox Head
Karl Filiga – from Canterbury Premier League/ Jersey Flegg
Jarrod Hogan - from Sydney City Jersey Flegg
Luke Hume - from North Queensland
Lancen Joudo - from Penrith SG Ball
Tohi Leha - from Balmain Jersey Flegg
Luke Letele - from Sydney City Jersey Flegg
Dean Lockhart - from St George SG Ball
Andrew Madden - from Dubbo
Brad Marks - from Dubbo
Kevin Pease - from Palm Beach Currumbin HS
Shane Pumipi - from Dargaville
Brynjar Ragnarsson - from Aspley Qld Cup
Nathan Stapleton - from Southport HS
Sebastien Swain - from Tamworth
Kieran Turner - from Norths Devils Queensland Cup
John Viiga - from Balmain SG Ball
Jarom Wihongi-Henare - from Whangarei
Jason Bakuya, Jack Bosden, Jon Curran, Nathan Donnelly, Bryce Forrest, Brackin Henry, Tu’u Maori, Ben Orcher, Fred Pakutoa, Matt Sokkar, Jay Thomas, Jeremiah Walters.
Arden McCarthy, Willie Peace, Quincy To’o To’o, William Wiki.
|GOLD COAST TITANS
Kingi Akaoula - from Balmain Jersey Flegg
Andrew Battesse - from Ballina
Lachlan Creighton - from Samford
Kevin Gordon - from Sawtell
Jy Hitchcox - from Mullumbimby
Kye Howarth - from Balmain SG Ball
George Jarrett - from Wynnum Manly
Kayne Lawton - from Burleigh
David Moore - from Tweed Heads Colts
Jordan Rapana - from Currumbin-Tugun
Ben Ridge - from Roma
Dylan Roberts - Souths Logan Colts
Shaun Spring - Souths Logan Colts
Sam Stewart - Newcastle Jersey Flegg
Esi Tonga - from Canterbury Jersey Flegg
Siosaia Vave - from Penrith SG Ball
James Baillie, Josh Costello, Steve Darby, Tom Kingston, Tyson Lofipo, Will Matthews, Jared McCarthy, Cody Nelson, Ryan Simpkins, Bodene Thompson, Shannon Walker, Cameron White, Brodie Williams, Ryan Wilson.
MANLY SEA EAGLES
Zac Bowles - from Narooma
Jamie Buhrer - from Parramatta SG Ball
Daly Cherry-Evans - from Western Districts
Daniel Drotini - from Mustangs, Brisbane
Kenny Edwards - from Keebra Park
Jake Lingard - from Narooma
Tim McDonald - from North Sydney Jersey Flegg
Bodie O'Connell - from The Entrance
Mark Page - from The Sunshine Coast
Bryan Perry - from Gordon RU
Lama Tasi - from Ipswich
Michael Tiopora - from Fairfield St Pats
Jared Waeara-Hargreaves - from Northern Suburbs Rugby Union
Todd Wilson - from The Sunshine Coast
Rhys Wolloghan - from Valley United
Cameron Woo - from Junee
Matt Beger, Kieran Foran, Ben Gilbert, John Grey, Matt Grieve, Lincoln Gutherson, Matt Hastie, Matt Hurd, Darrell Jang, Jai Jones-Wiegold, Darcy Lussick, Brooke Nickson, Pat North, Santana Palmer, Illija Radan, Trent Reilly, Inoke Tapaatoutai, Ben Uptin, Cameron Warwick.
Vili Faingaa - from Canberra Jersey Flegg
Luke Kelly - from Western Suburbs SG Ball
Lucas Miller - from Newcastle Jersey Flegg
Petros Thanos - from South Sydney SG Ball
Joseph Tomane - from Nudgee College Rugby Union
Jay Aston, Will Chambers, Darcy Etrich, Israel Folau, Malo Feterika, Liam Foran, Aiden Guerra, Sam Joe, Sinbad Kali, Will Naitoro, Laurence Nathan, Justin O'Neill, Kevin Proctor, Luke Samoa, Petera Tamarua, Aiden Tolman, Pulou Vaituutuu, Russell Webber, Gareth Widdop.
|NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
Angus Cameron - from Western Districts, Qld
Jason Cook - from Northcote
Mika Fa'amausili - from Norths Devils
Kurt Kara - from Waicoa Bay
Meli Koliavu - from Wellington
Alehana Mara - from Wellington
Ben Matulino - from Wellington
Arron Pawley - from Tamaki
Elijah Taylor - from Tamaki
Jason To'u - from Tamaki
Nopoto Tuimaulaga - from Tamaki
Ray Wallace - from Northcote
Leeson Ah Mau, Patrick Ah Van, Thomas Ah Van, Rusty Bristow, Sonny Fai, Jody Henry, Isaac John, Scott Jones, Francis Leger, Siuatonga Likiliki, Kevin Locke, Sione Lousi, Howie Matthews, Constantine Mika, Daniel O’Regan, Russell Packer, Daniel Palavi, Upu Poching, Eddie Purcell, Steve Rapira, Nafe Seluini, Lance Sua-Poe, Kurt Te Hira, Bill Tupou.
Trent Barnard - from Ivanhoes, Cairns
Matt Burnham - from Canberra SG Ball
Joel Burraston - from North Sydney Jersey Flegg
Byron Fruen - from Western Suburbs Jersey Flegg/ SG Ball
Trent Hilton - from Gunnedah
Daniel Isaac - from Gold Coast
Joseph Iosefo - from South Sydney Jersey Flegg
Angus McHatton - from Tamworth
Kevin Naiqama - from St George SG Ball
Marty Paulson - from Burleigh
Theeran Person-Yeatman - from Yarrabah, Cairns
Sione Tovo - from South Sydney Jersey Flegg
Joel Brown, Scott Dobbins, Jared Edwards, Joel Edwards, Blake Gallen, Mitch Garbutt, Todd Hurrell, Jacob Jenkinson, Ryan Lamb, James McClory, George Morseau, Tyren Mundine, Jack O'Brein, Tyne Owen, Jeremy Papamau, Callan Richardson, Ryan Sainty, Jason Schirnack, Ryan Stig, Simon Williams, Ben Wyborn.
Ryan Carr - from Cronulla Jersey Flegg
Jack Cooper - from Ivanhoes, Cairns
Leo Faagutu - from Balmain Jersey Flegg
Blayne Harling - from Norths Devils
Dane Hogan - from Illawarra SG Ball
Scott Idec - from Norths Devils
Chippie Korostchuk - from Canterbury, NZ
Shaun Maloney - from Western Districts
Joel McRae - from Western Sydney SG Ball
Darren Tonihi - from Canterbury, NZ
Nathan Barraclough, Steve Beaumont, Brandon Boor, Samuel Bowie, Obadieh Geia, Cameron Heading, Tom Humble, Jared Huston, Josh Land, Ryan Mahoney, Brady Payne, Chris Riesen.
Mitchell Allgood - from Penrith SG Ball
Ben McClennan - from Grafton
Jason Baitieri, David Baumann, Nathan Campbell, Shaun Cox, Jarryd Hayne, Jay Hemming, Trent Hodkinson, Justin Hunt, Kris Keating, Taniela Lasalo, Joel Latham, Luke Latham, Mase Laulu Togogae, Owen Lauofo, Martin Lewis, John Mannah, Tim Mannah, Anthony Mitchell, Fareni Moefaauo, Daniel Mortimer, Luke Motinelli, Dominic Nasso, Taputoa Rea, Timothy Robinson, Taulima Tautai, Kene Te Whata, Tony Williams.
Trent Iselin - from Tweed Heads Colts
Matt Minto - from Yepoon
Joel Romelo - from Cronulla Jersey Flegg
James Smart - from Gundagai
Tinirau Arona, Shane Blackett, Mitchell Cahalane, Jarred Cannon, Luke Clydesdale, Lachlan Coote, Tim Glasby, Brad Goodwin, Wade Graham, Tim Grant, Guy Hodgins, Masada Iosefa, William Isa, Michael Jennings, Michael Leeds, Travis Marshall, Michael Mate, Sam McKendry, Joel Orton, Joseph Paulo, Daniel Penese, Jarrod Searson, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Jamie Theoharous, Junior Tia Kilifi, Sonny Tuigamala, Greg Waddell, Chris Ward, Zoram Watene.
|SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
Luke Capewell - from Brisbane Easts Queensland Cup
Chris Farrell - from North Sydney Jersey Flegg
Aaron Hammett - from Norths Devils Colts
Brock Harmer - from Central Coast SG Ball
John Kaifoto - from North Sydney Jersey Flegg
Jake Leary - Endeavour Sports HS
Luke Leary - Cronulla Caringbah
Brad Lupi - from North Sydney Jersey Flegg/ SG Ball
Nick Read - from Orara Valley
Chris Sandow - from Gold Coast
James Segeyaro - from Ivanhoes, Cairns
Junior Seumanutafa - from Brisbane Easts Colts
Matt Smith - Wynnum Manly Queensland Cup
David Tyrell - from Brisbane Easts Queensland Cup
Junior Vaivai - from Brisbane Easts Colts
Malcolm Webster - Macleay Valley
Jason Clark, Michael Cummins, Abbey El-Zbaidieh, Sam Huihahau, Jamie Ingram, John Joseph, Hala Laula, Joseph Matapuku, Anga Moli, BJ Nathan, Hayden O'Donnell, Eddie Paea, Edward Pettybourne, Adam Reynolds, Andrew Smith, Ray Tafokitau, Robert Talai, Trent Trotter, Dominic Walsh.
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Jacob Boon - from Albion Park
Tom Hancock - from Cronulla Jersey Flegg/ SG Ball
Lachlan Gowland - from Western Districts
Ben Josephs - from Dubbo
Siaosi Liumaunu - from North Sydney Jersey Flegg
Kieran McNamarra - from Wagga Wagga
Clifford Morris - from Wagga South City
Wes Suckley - from Coonabarabran
Joe Vickory - from Cronulla Jersey Flegg
James Woolford - from Canberra SG Bal
Chris Astill, Jace Brown, Rowan Brown, Sam Campbell, Robert Carter, Josh Cochrane, Rhys Cochrane, Nathan Dureau, Daniel Fepuleai, Beau Henry, Gavin Hood, Brad Hudson, Tyler Jones, John Kennedy, Maurice Kennedy, Justin King, Kane Linnett, Jake Marketo, Trent Merrin, Sam Morath, Mitch Muir, Matthew Mundine, Luke Muttdon, Daniel Nicastri, Rory O'Brien, Michael Pickerd, Henry Raiwalui, Travis Roche, Ben Schreiber, Lagi Setu, Brendan Smith, Chase Stanley, Kyle Stanley, Jarrod Thompson, Dean Whare, Clint Wright, Jeff Zwolsman.
|SYDNEY CITY ROOSTERS
Ben Cronin - from Wynnum Manly
Matt Hands - from Junee
Mose Masoe - from Wellington
Ryan Williamson - from Mackay
Rohan Ahern, Anthony Cherrington, John Clayton, Sandor Earl, David Hala, Baden Hall, Matthew Hall, Alan Heldsinger, Ben Jones, Martin Kennedy, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Hermani Moala, Brock Molan, Mitchell Pearce, Dominic Peyroux, Daniel Randall, Dylan Sharp, Tom Symonds, Mark Talanoa, James Tamou, Galu Teo, Luke Towers, Stanley Waqa, Jarvan White, Antonio Winterstein.
Jared Barry - from Gordon Rugby
Todd Bridge - from Taree
Matt Davidson - from Hills District
Luke Dudgeon - from Milton-Ulladulla
Noah Fotu - from Leeton
Chad Grant - from St Clair
Brett Lane - from Sydney City Jersey Flegg
Joe Latham - from Wingham
Robert Lui - from Keebra Park HS
Sioeli Makaui - from Keebra Park HS
Linton Price - from Leeton
Coedy Towney - from Manly Rugby
Benson Tupou - from Leeton
Leo Vaiga - from Keebra Park HS
Mitchell Achurch, Blake Ayshford, Nathan Benney, Sam Burns, Bill Callaway, Chris Corby, Adam Dib, Wayde Dunley, Simon Dwyer, Leo Fa'agatu, Ben Falcone, Claude Gordon, Damon Harth, Blake Lazarus, Chris Lawrence, Willie Mataka, Luke McInness, Tim Moltzen, Steve Morris, Darren Nicholls, Matt Parata, Matt Ryan, Filipo Sauvao, Ben Shea, Michael Stolk, Ratu Peni Tagive, Valeni Tiatia, Holo Tonga, Ben Vengoa, Brendan Vengoa.
Abby El-Zbaidieh, C
| (U20s SQUAD)
* Mitchell Allgood
* Jason Baitieri
* David Baumann
* Nathan Campbell
* Shaun Cox
* Jay Hemming
* Trent Hodkinson
* Justin Hunt
* Kris Keating
* Taniela Lasalo
* Joel Latham
* Luke Latham
* Mase Laulu Togagae
* Owen Lauofo
* Martin Lewis
* Ben McLennan
* John Mannah
* Tim Mannah
* Anthony Mitchell
* Fareni Moefaauo
* Daniel Mortimer
* Luke Mottinelli
* Dom Nasso
* Tim Robinson
* Sonny Taputoa Rea
* Taulima Tautai
* Kene TeWhata
* Tony Williams
TOYOTA CUP SQUAD
1. Luke Towers
2. Alan Heldsinger
(QLD Under 17's, NTH Conference)
3. Hemani Moala
4. Antonio Winterstein
(QLD Under 19's)
5. Galu Teo
(QLD Under 17's, AIS '06)
6. Ben Jones
(NSW Under 17's, AIS '06, QSSRL '06)
7. AJ Taumata
(Junior Kiwi's, NZ Under 18's)
8. Martin Kennedy
(Australian Schoolboys, NSW CHS Opens)
9. Luke Lelete
10. James Tamou
11. Baden Hall
12. Matthew Hall
(NSW Under 17's)
13. Anthony Cherrington
14. Jake Friend
(Australian Schoolboys, QLD CHS Opens)
15. Rohan Ahern
(QLD Under 19's)
16. Mose Masoe
(New Zealand Under 18's)
17. Stanley Waqa
(NSW Under 17's, Fiji Bati Rep)
18. David Hala
(Australian Schoolboys, QLD Under 18's)
19. John Clayton
(QLD Under 17's, Under 19's, STH Conference)
20. Zeb Tahwa
(Australian Under 16's Touch Footy)
21. Dylan Sharp
(NSW CCC Opens)
22. Tom Symonds
23. Brock Molan
(QLD Under 17's)
24. Ryan Williamson
(Australian Schoolboys, QLD Under 17's)
25. Jarvarn White
| Under 20 squad for the 2008 Toyota Cup National Youth
NATIONAL UNDER 20's COMPETITION EXPLAINED
The New South Wales Rugby League will use the emergence of the National Under-20s competition (Toyota Cup) as an opportunity to create an independent open-aged competition focusing on returning top level Rugby League to suburban grounds.
In the months that the National Under-20s has been in planning, the NSWRL has canvassed a range of options for its competitions structure, ranging from new opportunities at the Under-16 and Under-18 level, and an open-aged competition that will recapture the spirit of traditional clubs battling it out on a weekly basis.
Clubs such as Wests, Balmain, Newtown, Auckland and Norths have indicated their desire to be involved in this standalone competition – which will replace the VB Premier League – and a majority of NSW National Rugby League clubs have indicated their involvement through a joint venture method or otherwise.
The advent of the new open-aged competition, the expansion of the junior representatives and the niche-filling Jim Beam Cup competition will see the NSWRL provide opportunities for every level of footballer;
· The best Under-16s Harold Matthews and Under-18s SG Ball teams to compete with their Queensland counterparts for “National champion” status from 2008 onwards, with the added incentive of potential selection in Australian U16 and U18 sides to play New Zealand each year.
· The open-aged competition to provide the best players outside NRL level, playing at local and traditional venues which will often be vacated due to NRL away games.
· A semi-professional Jim Beam Cup competition that gives players an opportunity to play at the best of their abilities without the requirement of full-time commitment.
“We’ve been given a chance to streamline our competitions and further improve the pathways we already have for kids wanting to progress through to elite level football,” NSWRL General Manager Geoff Carr said.
“We had feedback from many clubs that a credible open-aged competition is very important, and with the Toyota Cup, in most cases, providing the only fixture prior to an NRL clash, there is a real opportunity to develop this competition through playing stand-alone fixtures and double-headers.
“If games are programmed correctly, we can take advantage of situations where, for instance, Wests Tigers might be playing away, so a Wests versus Balmain clash could be scheduled at Leichhardt Oval – to provide credible suburban football to Sydney rugby league fans.”
“The Jim Beam Cup was never intended to breach the gap between an Under-20s and open-aged competition – it is a unique competition with a $150,000 salary cap that is designed to ensure teams are not stacked.”
In conclusion, the NSWRL will now allow a period of time for clubs to complete negotiations for joint ventures, before finalising its competition structures.
|NATIONAL UNDER 20's COMPETITION IN 2008
Toyota is partnering the NRL in revolutionising the way young players balance off field career options with the lure of a professional sporting contract.
Toyota and the NRL have today officially launched the 2008 Toyota Cup, a National Under 20s competition that will showcase the elite young talent of Rugby League like never before.
The Toyota Cup is being heralded as a magnet for the country’s best junior sporting talent with every NRL team showcasing its best young players each week through the competition.
While the draw will mirror that of the Telstra Premiership, the Toyota Cup teams will operate separately as a semi professional competition.
Toyota Cup squads will be required to schedule training sessions that promote off field education and traineeships, with plans to exclude any team training during business hours on three working days of each week.
Clubs will be encouraged to tailor training sessions around off field education programmes and to ensure all athletes are engaged in either these or work placement programmes.
All players will attend specific Under 20s induction programmes that will outline the opportunities and responsibilities of a semi-professional sporting environment.
A percentage of the competition’s salary cap will be dedicated to education funding.
Every Toyota Cup team will have a designated welfare officer who will accompany the team on all away trips and who will assist the players in planning off field career and education options.
Former International Michael Buettner, the NRL’s current Game Liaison Manager, will move into the role of competition manager and says the focus will be on preparing footballers for every aspect of their career.
“Players accept today that professionalism is about life both on and off the field but most of the older players have had to learn that after making first grade,” he said.
“From the moment a player makes it into the Toyota Cup the message will be loud and clear that the first step will be to start building for life after football.
“Most guys at the elite junior level don’t make it to the Telstra Premiership and we want to make sure that seeing them making the most of their sporting talents doesn’t cost them career opportunities they may have otherwise had.
“We also find that the guys that do make it through are better focused through their football careers if they have a sense of where they are going after football.
“The Toyota Under 20s will give parents and athletes the security of knowing they are playing with the best athletes and playing for the best outcomes in their lives.”
One of the staunchest supporters of the competition and chairman of the Under 20s planning committee, Parramatta Chief Executive, Mr Denis Fitzgerald, said the Toyota Cup was a crucial part of the game’s future.
“The competition for playing talent has never been more intense and the Toyota Cup offers a unique pathway,” he said.
“Rugby League in the past pioneered modified games for juniors, it developed elite training squads and academies ahead of other codes and this competition is every bit as significant.
“No other code can offer an opportunity like this and it will attract not only the best athletes in our game but will also give plenty of others an incentive to look at Rugby League as well.
“I think fans will want to come early and see the stars of the future and I think parents will want to see their children in a competition that develops athletes on and off the field.”
Toyota Executive Director of Sales and Marketing Mr Alan Porich said today that sponsorship was part of a long term commitment to Rugby League:
“The Toyota Cup has many of the features of the American college system, acting as the stepping stone between amateur clubs and the professional sport.
“One of its attractions is the strong focus on education and training, including rookie camps and other initiatives aimed at developing a new breed of NRL player.
“The Toyota Cup adds to our strong links with the game through the Cowboys the Sharks and the Broncos.
“Toyota will also become the official vehicle of the NRL and we will be involved in both the Centenary and Saturday night football.”
NRL Chief Executive Mr David Gallop said the Toyota Cup was an example of the game’s planning for the future.
“It’s fitting that the game’s centenary year will be marked with a new competition aimed at the next generation of stars,” he said.
“It reflects a lot of cooperation from the NSW, Queensland and Australian Rugby Leagues.”
The NSWRL is in the process of finalising both its premier open age competition and its junior competitions for 2008.