Tigers and Cubs raring to go

THEY are the cream of the region’s best young rugby league players.

Gunnedah’s Luke Howes on the burst with Jed Englert in support and Jacob Button (right) cover defending. Howes and Englert have been named in the 41-player GNA squad that will be inducted on October 31.  Photo: Barry Smith 101015BSH26

Gunnedah’s Luke Howes on the burst with Jed Englert in support and Jacob Button (right) cover defending. Howes and Englert have been named in the 41-player GNA squad that will be inducted on October 31. Photo: Barry Smith 101015BSH26

Many will form part of the Greater Northern Tigers Under 16 and 18 teams for Country Championships later next year.

This year a number played in the two GN sides in Country Championships with the Under 16s winning their country championship.

Two weeks ago 108 young players turned out for the annual GNA trials from which 41 made it through to the 2015/16 GNA Program.

Those 41 will be divided into the GNA Tigers and Cubs to train together and prepare for games against the Newcastle Knights and then a major weekend against all the other academies in the state.

GNA manager Scott Bone said selecting the teams was a difficult process because of the high standard of performance on show in the hot conditions.

“We had to work back through the video,” he said of a testing job for himself and the selectors.

“There was some good quality there.

“We’re happy with the two squads – hopefully they will be successful.”

The 41 young players will be officially inducted at the Tamworth Sports Dome on October 31 when they will also undergo fitness testing.

NRL welfare officers will also be on hand to talk to the young players about their physical and mental well- being.

“NSW High Performance manager Matt Parish will also be there,”  Bone said.

Not only fitness will be tested but strength programs mapped out for the players too.

‘“It’s going to be a fairly long day,” Bone said.

The first training session for the new squads will be November 21/22, with a further camp before Christmas and then a final session in late January to prepare for games against the Newcastle Knights on February 13.

“This year we’ll finish the program a little bit differently,”  Bone said.

“All the CRL academies will go to the Narrabeen Fitness Centre and play games there. That’s the last week in February (27/28).

“We’ll have some NRL people come in for that too  – hopefully NSW State of Origin coach Laurie Daley too.”

So it’s going to be a big program beginning with the Tamworth induction in a fortnight or so.

The story Tigers and Cubs raring to go first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.

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