Academy players to sweat it out before festive break

THEY might be breaking for Christmas and New Year but the young men in the Greater Northern Academy have one last session to negotiate at Scully Park today.

The session, which kicks off at 2.30pm, will lead into an important period for the players,  GNA manager Scott Bone said.

“They break from the academy until mid-January but then return and work towards games in February,”  Bone said.

“The session will see the players work more on putting their skills into a game sense situation, with the squads having a short opposed hit-out at the end of the session.”

He said the boys would go through their tackle and defensive drills as well as the attacking side.

“Hopefully we will get to the point of what we call edge on edge and play the opposing stuff.

“We finish off with about half an hour of opposed game – let them have their heads for a quarter hour or so but then also put them in scenarios for a set of six.”

While there are about 40 players in the two GNA squads (Cubs and Tigers), some will be missing today.

“Ty Barry, Corey Manicaros and Hayden Loughrey are at a Parramatta camp and Josh Bermingham at a Storm camp,” Bone said.

“It’s great for the kids.

“The are either on scholarships or contracted.

“The Broncos and Titans also have camps starting this Monday too.”

 Bone said the education of young players was far more advanced today.

Last week a number of junior players were part of a City-Country camp in Sydney.

It was the third year for young players who might have missed out on making the GNA. While Manicaros attended, so too did Uralla’s Jordan Press and Muswellbrook’s Rowan Pottinger.

“They visited the Bulldogs and spoke with Aiden Tolman, Josh Jackson and Steve Turner,” Bone said.

 “Ben Cross, who is now back at Newcastle, also spoke to the boys. 

“They talked of their experiences in the NRL.

“We also went out to Maroubra for a gym session with former South Sydney prop Scott Geddes and had a tour of the Roosters’ set-up. Craig Fitzgibbon spoke to the boys there.

“We were also able to go to a rookies’ camp at Hawkesbury. 

“Andy Saunders (Quirindi and Farrer) was there. 

“Mick Hodgson, Kane Cleal and Dean Widders were all there as well and spoke to them about what it was like coming from the bush.

“They gave the main insight into how it all works and the opportunities they have.

“But all of them had the same message.

“Hard work. 

“They all talked about the Cameron Smiths, Billy Slaters and Johnathan Thurstons but all stressed how hard those guys work.

“They told the boys about all the little things too.”

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