THE URALLA Tigers have been building from the bottom up for a number of years and if their presence in the Wests Greater Northern Academy is anything to go by they must be doing something right.
While almost every town and every club around the region has been represented at the academy over the years there has been a distinct lack of Uralla boys in the program.
That is not the case any more.
Three young Tigers have made the cut for this year’s squad.
Uralla local Jordan Press, Invergowrie resident Ethan Calliess and Walcha boy Bevan Wood were all part of the Tigers U16s this year and will form the foundation for the club’s under 18s in 2013 - a side that has high hopes in the Group 19 competition.
Press and Wood have been playing together in Tigers colours for a number of years and have also represented Group 19 since under 13s.
They have formed a close halves combination in that time with Wood at five-eighth and Press at halfback.
They also share the same NRL team, the Cronulla Sharks, and are looking forward to seeing them play the Newcastle Knights in a trial in Tamworth in February.
The GNA is planning some games as curtain raisers for that trial.
Calliess also plays in the Uralla backline, in the centres, but he follows the Roosters.
The 16-year-old trio joined the rest of their academy teammates at the GNA camp in Tamworth on the weekend.
They were pleased that the weather was a lot cooler than the last training session but won’t escape the heat all summer.
Nonetheless the boys all said that being part of the academy is a “good experience” and are keen to learn.
There might even be an opportunity to play first grade for the best Uralla juniors in 2013.
The club is putting together a first grade side for next year after several years out of the top grade.
Long time player, coach and administrator Carl Press is also coach at the GNA this summer and said the Tigers were on the lookout for a couple of front rowers, but are otherwise confident of fielding a competitive team in what could be a nine or even 10 team first grade