These are budding Titans who are going through the experience of tough NRL club pre-season environment … because they backed themselves.
The eight - (from left in the photograph) Bradon Sunderland, Josh Rogers, Ryan Cameron, Aiden Taua, Nathan Prostamo, Fred Kiel and Ngangarra Barker – are proof of the success of the club’s under-20s open trials system.
Such was the response to October’s trial at Pizzey Park, the Titans had to turn away several applicants and restrict the day to 100 players.
From the day’s action, these eight players were invited to join the squad and vie for possible Holden Cup debuts. They may initially play in the State League Colts competition or Mal Meninga Cup, or even go straight into the NYC squad to start the season.
One thing is for certain, if they want any encouragement that they have played their way into the reckoning, they just have to look at the Titans’ 2015 under-20s season.
Shane Gillham, Cade Maloney, Simione Fatefahi , Rhys Duke and Braydon McGrady all came from the open trial to play Holden Cup, with Gillham and Duke establishing themselves as regular players.
“The open trial system has been a great success and we were pretty happy with the talent on show,” said under-20s coach Ben Woolf.
“We had some players come from far and wide, including interstate, looking for an opportunity and we’re very happy to give them that opportunity.
“Aiden Taua is from Melbourne and played for the Storm last season, Shaun Hinton [Wauchope] and Bradon Sunderland [Inverell] played A grade in NSW country [Bradon’s team won the grand final].
“And we picked up a local in Nathan Prostamo, a forward who played for Burleigh Bears under-19s and Colts 2015, and has represented Queensland under-16s.”
The background of the other successful triallists is:
Ryan Cameron, a hooker from Easts Tigers’ Mal Meninga Cup and Colts team; Josh Rogers, a halfback originally from Perth, who played for Burleigh’s under-19s and Colts; Fred Keil, an outside back from Wellington and Ngangarra Barker, a utility back who played S G Ball (under-16s) for Newcastle Knights then local A grade in 2015.