Many Gold Coast high-schoolers will spend the summer doing work experience to get themselves ready for their future careers – and the young guns of the Junior Titans System are no different.
“We’ve got our under-16 and under-18 players for 2020 now in a pre-season program,” explains JTS Elite Player Development Manager Jamie McCormack.
“They are coming in at least every Tuesday and Thursday night, working with us and our coaching staff. A lot of that is just fundamental skills, and obviously doing a lot of work in the gym.
“Outside of that, a lot of those boys will be connected to Burleigh and Tweed – our affiliate clubs.
“So really, they are training about four nights a week between the affiliate clubs and ourselves.
“It is a big pre-season for a lot of the young boys, particularly the 15-year-olds who are turning 16. It is a real change from what they might have done in the past.
“It is about professionalism – it is the first step for a lot of these young boys in that direction towards the NRL.
“We finish the program in late January (with a game against) the Newcastle Knights – their Harold Matthews and SG Ball squads – down there in Coffs Harbour.
“So there is three months of tough work, but the reward is you get to play against another NRL club, and we will assess them there.”
A host of JTS players and graduates have been called up to train with the Titans NRL squad this summer under the tutelage of new head coach Justin Holbrook, furthering their rugby league apprenticeships.
“I think it is really rewarding for all of our staff in the JTS program (to see that happen),” McCormack said.
“We work with these young boys for two to three years in our program, and the best ones step forward and get those opportunities with the NRL (squad).
“I guess we are like proud parents standing back and watching them mixing it with the best in our club.”
The JTS program is being powered by Westfund Health Insurance, who have joined the Titans as Presenting Partner of the Junior Titans System.
“It is outstanding to have their support, with Westfund coming on board to support the entire JTS program,” McCormack said.
“Obviously that enables us to increase our program, put some more staff on around our young players coming through the system, and just overall go to another level, which is great.
“They are giving something back to their local community. We really look forward to working with Westfund.”