This time of year may be classed as the rugby league off-season but a group of young men have been given the chance of a lifetime on a tour of England as part of a Country Rugby League (CRL) representative side.
As part of an annual CRL representative tour, there are six Junior Titans System (JTS) players that are part of the under-16s side.
Tom Weaver, Oscar Bryant, Reef Somerville, Rowan Mansfield, Riley Lack, Jack Cullen and Noah Johannssen are all form of the squad, which has enjoyed terrific success already with two wins from three games.
“All the boys were part of the Northern Rivers Titans program and they all participated in the Andrew Johns Cup earlier in the year,” Titans Elite Pathways Manager Jamie McCormack said.
“The players reaped the rewards by being selected in this side.
“There are nine players in the squad from that side, and six of those are contracted to the Titans.”
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The first match of the tour was played against a Community England Lions side, with the CRL side running out convincing 62-10 victors.
“I don’t know a lot about the Community Lions, but I had a look at the vision and the standard was a little lower than expected,” McCormack said.
“Listening to the commentators, they couldn’t stop raving about young Tom Weaver.”
The second match of the tour was against the Leeds Academy side, with the Aussie group producing a strong seven-try performance at Emerald Headingley.
“In the second game, they were in the lead the whole time and were in control throughout,” McCormack said.
“All of our boys went well, but Noah Johannssen – one of our local Tweed boys – played well up front. Rowan Mansfield scored a few tries, and Reef Somerville performed well as well.”
While a tour like this helps players to develop their on-field skills, it’s being part of a touring group of young, talented players that can help individuals develop and mature as they chase their dream of becoming professional players.
“As we know in the NRL there is a lot of travel involved, and then the professionalism attached to that,” McCormack said.
“As young men, it’s a great experience. But making sure you perform in every aspect is important and hopefully some of these boys can develop into NRL players.”