THE 2015/2016 Greater Northern Rugby League Academy squad will assemble at the Tamworth Sports Dome at noon today for the first session of the new program.
41 players will be inducted into the GNA program with parents attending and also being introduced to the expansive program.
Players and parents will receive an update on programs run by the NRL Welfare with NRL Community Clubs and Schools Programs manager Paul Walker speaking about the programs currently being run by the NRL for both players’ welfare and education, GNA manager Scott Bone said.
“Paul will then be assisted by former NRL players Andrew Ryan, Michael Hodgson, Werris Creek’s Ben Smith and Armidale’s Dennis Moran in conducting the CareerWise program with the players,” he said.
The players will then be put through some physical testing at Rural Fit under the watchful eye of NSW assistant State of Origin coach and CRL High Performance Manager Matt Parish and NSW Performance Solutions Manager Brad Pryjmachuk.
The players will complete the SPARQ test, with their result being compared with players from across country NSW and also players of the same age aligned with NRL club programs.
Bone said many of the GNA squad members had gone on to higher honours.
“Players such as Matt Allwood, playing first grade in the NRL, and Andy Saunders, who last season played for the Junior Kangaroos against the Junior Kiwis,” he said.
“The recent Group 4 first grade grand final saw some 10 players who have graduated through the academy program take part.
“The academy provides an opportunity for young players from throughout the region to advance their skills in rugby league.
“Over the course of the program they will also have access to programs which we hope will not only make them a better player on field, but also from the sidelines.”
The players will meet again in Tamworth on November 21/22 for a two-day camp, where the players will go through the on-field program.