FARRER teenager Nick McCrohon wants to use the Rugby Gold program to make the NSW squad this season.
Despite the rugby season still months away, the 16-year-old Pirates forward is keen to get back into the contests.
It is the first year the program includes matches, with the Rugby Gold Cup carnivals set to light up the U15 and U17 age groups nationwide.
The Northern Inland squads are one of ten NSW, and one of 24 national squads in the program.
They will play in the Southern Conference alongside Victorian, ACT, and South Australian squads, and the southern NSW sides.
The NI squads completed the second full training session of the season at TAS on Sunday, although have been running weekly satellite sessions in the individual towns.
McCrohon has been attending the satellites at Farrer, where he is also a student, and is keen to hit the match phase of training and get into the games.
“We have just been running the whole time and training under fatigue,” McCrohon said.
“I am looking forward to getting on with the games.”
Despite the amount of fitness training the squad is put through, McCrohon has nothing but rave reviews of the program.
“It’s great – you don’t lose touch with rugby year round,” McCrohon said.
“After the program last year I went into the season a lot fitter and my tackling skills and rucking technique were much better.”
With the added addition of the nation-wide competition and big matches this year, the NSW Country player is hoping to take that next step.
“I want to keep playing at a high level and the program is a big step towards those rep sides.”
“I want to make the NSW squad this season.”
McCrohon is the perfect example of the talent identification and grassroots development the restructured Gold program is aimed at.
The coaches are all trained to coach high-performance techniques and the program is identical for all 24 squads around Australia.
McCrohon will have even better access to the NI coaches than most this year.
The U17 coaches are newly- signed Pirates top grade coaches Andrew Verrell and Conrad Starr.
The Gold Cup is split into a northern and southern conference, with all sides playing five games before the state finals and national final.
The competition starts in February and will end in March, with the whole program complete before the kick-off to the club season.