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School's out... but not for these two Future Titans doing a NRL pre-season

School may be out for summer... but the hard work is continuing for two Future Titans who have swapped the classroom for the footy field in a unique way to spend their Christmas holiday period.

Palm Beach Currumbin students Sam Stephenson and Zane Harrison have been given a a remarkable opportunity to see what it takes to be in a NRL system, completing a train-and-trial under premiership-winning mentor Des Hasler, with the pair to return to the Gold Coast powerhouse for their final year of schooling in 2024.

A valuable chance to learn from the highly-credentialed Titans coaching staff before returning to the club's pathways training program and school commitments after the Christmas / New Year break, it's a timely experience for the two first grade prospects, who are both working hard to secure full-time contracts with the Gold Coast after they graduate Year 12.

Palm Beach Currumbin rugby league excellence coach Tim Maccan - who has completed a pre-season at the Titans himself - knows how much it will benefit both players.

"It's great for the school and a really good opportunity for both Sam and Zane to get a taste of what a NRL system is like," he told 7 News Gold Coast.

"Hopefully they bring that experience back to school next year - allowing them to have a leadership role next year along with seeing their intensity lift at training, and helping others to be better as well.

"I think the Titans have done a great job in managing their workloads and giving them a taste without going too crazy which has been really good.

"I think it’s only going to benefit the club into the future."

Harrison - who is hoping to earn a full-time contract as one of the Coast's most promising playmakers - has admitted he still has a few nerves each time he steps foot to Titans HQ, but the 17-year-old knows how valuable this experience will be with his intention to prove he belongs in the NRL.

Rising playmaker Zane Harrison in action.
Rising playmaker Zane Harrison in action. ©Titans Media

It’s obviously been tough, but it’s such a good experience training with all the boys at the Titans," the Future Titans halfback said.

It’s surreal knowing I’m coming back to school next year but getting to do a NRL pre-season is pretty cool… I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity.

"I’ve just gone into this trying to prove a point that I’m not too small and I can handle a pre-season.

"It’s obviously a good experience training with all the experience at the Titans and it makes you a better player... that's been my goal this pre-season."

His outside back schoolmate is looking forward to returning from his pre-season stint with plenty of knowledge and experience that he can instil on the rest of his PBC teammates next year.

"I reckon the training is the hardest thing I’ve ever done," Stephenson said.

"The body was a bit sore after the first few weeks, particularly getting used to the training load… we’re training four days a week and at that intensity has been really tough, but it’s good and I’m getting used to it now.

Queensland Schoolboy star Sam Stephenson.
Queensland Schoolboy star Sam Stephenson. ©Titans Media

"I’ve really enjoyed learning off all the older boys who are the more experienced players, they've taught me so much.

"It’s also been great to learn about how important nutrition is and also recovery after training, so I’m really looking forward to bringing that experience back here to PBC next year."

It will be a much-welcomed boost for the Reds, who will be aiming to go one better in the National Schoolboy Cup next year after falling short to Westsfields State High School in the 2023 grand final, representing Queensland after winning the Phil Hall Cup 28-0 over St Patrick's College, Mackay.

Acknowledgement of Country

Gold Coast Titans proudly acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout South East Queensland.