The Gold Coast Titans under-15s development squad had a double treat when they came together last week during the first week of the school holidays.
Not only had we arranged a match against the Balmain Tigers squad at Cudgen, the Titans boys had an opportunity to be coached by NRL co-captain Greg Bird.
Birdy was making his coaching debut and says he learned as much as the 20-boy squad who had two three-hour sessions under Bird in preparation.
They went down to the Tigers 26-10 in wet conditions but not before several players in the Titans squad impressed.
The match was the culmination of the 2014 program for the players from the NSW Northern Rivers and Gold Coast north and Gold Coast south groups who took part in the Titans Pathways Program.
The player judged best back was tall, lean centre Isaac Lee from Lismore. If you’re think ‘Lee’ and ‘Lismore’ and ‘is he any relation to former Cronulla Sharks prop Danny Lee’ you’re absolutely right. Isaac is Danny’s son.
Best forward was Ben Thomas, a lock from Beaudesert.
Bird had two sessions with the squad and was sideline during their game, in his introduction to coaching.
“I thoroughly enjoyed it and it gave me an opportunity to put some of my ideas into practice,” said the NSW and Australian back-rower.
“The boys were really enthusiastic and had a real go, which is all a coach can ask. It was a pleasure to be involved with them and I hope I was able to impart some of my knowledge and encourage them in some small way.
“It has whetted my appetite for a possible coaching role when I retire from playing. I’d like to be involved with the Titans development squads again.”
Some players will be selected to move into our Elite Player Development Unit from the junior academy.
“While we went down 20-16 great, it was a great opportunity for me and Ben Woolf to evaluate the strength or some of the individual players against a quality side and opposition,” said elite player development unit manager Jaimie McCormack.
The Titans’ under 13, 14, 16 and 18 squads played against Queensland Samoa at Pizzey Park yesterday and tomorrow the under-17s play Canberra Raiders at Runaway Bay.