TWO of the Greater Northern Tigers players would have been begging for the ice baths on Sunday afternoon after a big weekend of rugby league so early in the year.
Zac Faulkner and Ryan Horton, students at Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School, travelled to Dora Creek on Saturday to trial for the Newcastle Knights before coming back to Werris Creek on Sunday to train for the Tigers under an oppressive sun.
Horton was playing for the Knights U17s against the Western Suburbs Magpies, whilst Faulkner was playing for the Knights SG Ball side against Manly.
The Farrer and North Tamworth Bears duo will both go back to Newcastle in October to trial for the SG Ball team when they leave school.
Faulkner trialled last year and missed out on the squad, although got a call back a few weeks ago to join the team for a few training sessions and the game.
“It has given me something to work towards and the academy has really helped with my fitness, especially on days like this,” Faulkner said.
The prop said that the technical work they are doing will really improve his game this upcoming season.
“My skills and fitness in both attack and defence are much better,” Faulkner said.
“Hopefully I can make some more rep squads and play well for Farrer and the Bears and have another crack at the Knights at the end of the year.”
Horton was approached by the NRL club after the Tigers’ loss to the Bidgee Bulls in the Country Championships final last year.
The lock was pretty happy with the way he played on Saturday and is excited about the opportunity to trial for the club.
“It has been really good and the off-season training has helped a lot,” Horton said.
“We have been fine-tuning everything from lines to tackling technique, and my passing game is a lot better.”
“Training under fatigue, like today, has made my fitness a lot better and the coaches are really into it.”
The Year 12 student is hoping to win a Uni Shield this year after a painful golden- point loss to Bathurst in the final last September.
“I want to win a Uni Shield after going so close and a premiership for the Bears U18s this year,” Horton said.
“My main goal is to improve my game so I can play in Newcastle next year.”
The Greater Northern Tigers will take on the Knights Chargers and the Hunter Academy at Cessnock on February 15, before hosting North Coast and Northern Rivers in Tamworth the following weekend.