STEVE Haylen is a former Tiger charged with igniting some young representative careers in Wyong this Saturday.
The Tigers' under-16 side tackle Central Coast Roosters in their first-round Andrew Johns Cup match at Morrie Breen Oval, Wyong.
Haylen, a one-time star for the Muswellbrook Rams in the Hunter Valley Group 21 competition, is the coach of the Greater Northern Tigers' under-16 side.
The former tough-as-teak prop remembers well his Tiger days.
“I played under Darryl Rando (coach). They were great days,” Haylen said.
“Mick Schmiedel (the current Tigers women’s coach) was our hooker. I’ve told the boys about the system I came through and told them the pathways are there for them through that same system today.
"If they play well for the Tigers and make a Country side, then they will have just about every NRL side chasing them.”
Haylen is excited about his Tigers side.
“It’s their first game and we do have a pretty decent squad, I think," he said. "That’s been a bit hard to gauge because we haven’t had any trials to grade them on.
"We’ve just had a few opposed sessions against the 18s. We were good one week and poor the next.
“We do have some good young kids, though, and they have been training well. We started well before Christmas and had eight or nine sessions.
“While it has been hard to get them all together, they have trained well.”
Tigers: 1 Latrell Newman (Moree), 2 Blake Johnston (Scone), 3 Campbell Watchirs (Inverell), 4 Daltyn McCartney (Singleton), 5 Brayden Talbott-Hatch (Gunnedah), 6 Ethan Antzakles (Farrer), 7 Pichai Dixon (Aberdeen), 8 Mark Simon (Farrer), 9 Sam Fechner (Scone), 10 Jeffrey Harvey (Narrabri), 11 Hayden Bull (Scone), 12 Luke Smith (Scone), 13 Jock Brazel (Moree), 14 Clint Aitken (Dungowan), 15 Lachlan Smith (Farrer), 17 Ryan Kelly-Payne (Gunnedah), 18 Nicholas Laurie (Scone), 20 Jordan Leota (Dungowan). Coach: Steve Haylen (Muswellbrook).