Akarana Zone, with the support of NZRL staff, held the first of
the seven Zone Performance Camps of 2013 last Sunday. Performance
camps are the opportunity for invited elite players from the Zone
to trial for their National Competitions 15s and 17s teams. Despite
very wet and cold conditions, there was a great turnout of players
eager to start their journey on the NZRL player pathway.
The rain did not stop the players from embracing the opportunity
to develop their catching, passing and tackling skills during a
coaching session run by NZRL High Performance Manager, Tony Iro.
Back inside where it seemed to be only slightly dryer, the players
were put through their paces to test their fitness levels. Players
were tested on speed, agility, aerobic fitness, lower body power
and had their height and weight measurements recorded. In bare
feet, Logan Yates set the Yo-yo test standard for the 17s age group
reaching level 19.8 - the gold standard for his age.
Newly appointed Warriors NYC coach Stacey Jones, delivered a
presentation to the group about the player pathway to the Warriors.
He also spoke about the players who are now with the Warriors who
have come through the NZRL pathway and have made the very most of
their opportunities in the National Competition, age groups teams
and the NZ Residents 16s and 18s.
Joe Harawira, who also presented, said he thought Stacey's
presentation was excellent, a really worthwhile and interesting one
which also addressed the importance of outside interests and
education for the players.
He was also impressed with a presentation by Paul Walker of the
NRL who talked to the players about the pathway into the NRL and
explained the various competitions that they run.
The day was rounded out by a presentation from Joe, the NRL/NZRL
Wellbeing and Education Manager. Joe spoke about attitudes, vision
and values, wellbeing and education, the NRL pathways, anti-doping,
player agents and alcohol education. The important messages were
very well received by the young players.
A big thank to everyone from the players and their parents to
the Zone staff and all the speakers for making the effort to come
along on such a truly miserable day, to help these young men on
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England Rugby League coach Steve McNamara will travel to
Australia this week for a fact-finding mission where he will meet
all of his international NRL based players. McNamara will watch 10
matches during his 20-day trip. Next week he will take in four
matches in the NRL, starting on Friday when he will watch England
international James Graham play for Canterbury Bulldogs against
Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium, Sydney.
On Saturday he will be a guest at the Wests Tigers versus Canberra
Raiders match. Sunday he will watch brothers Sam and George Burgess
at Parramatta Stadium, when South Sydney Rabbitohs travel to
Sydney's west to face Parramatta Eels. The following day he will
take in the 'Monday Night Football' clash between Gold Coast Titans
and Melbourne Storm at Skilled Park, where he will meet up with
England star Gareth Widdop.
"I always aim to get over to Australia at least once a year to
keep up-to-date with what is happening in the NRL and to meet up
with the England players playing in the southern hemisphere," said
"I will watch ten matches during my visit, including the second
State of Origin. I have been invited to observe Queensland's
training camp as they build-up to their game in Brisbane.
"I have also organised meetings with the England players to keep
them updated and engaged with our plans as we continue to look
ahead to the Rugby League World Cup. Even though I speak to our
Australian based players at least couple of times a month, the
opportunity to see them in person is vital. They are all excited
about this year and representing England on home soil. It is a big
deal for them."
The England boss will also carry out a number of media
interviews during his time in Australia with a view to
creating awareness of the England programme and the progress the
international side is making.
"I think it is important to continue to spread the word on the
work we are doing at international level," added McNamara.
"Our boys are doing us proud in the NRL and for the first time
in a number of years there is massive respect for our players and
their influence within the game. It is important to embrace
the sport and there is no better way to create awareness of the
international game than speaking to the Australian media in their
Steve McNamara's Australian Schedule:
Wednesday June 19 - Departs for Australia
Friday June 21 - Bulldogs v Roosters ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Saturday June 22 - Tigers v Raiders Campbelltown Stadium,
Sunday June 23 - Eels v Rabbitohs Parramatta Stadium, Sydney
Monday June 24 - Titans v Storm Skilled Park, Gold Coast
Wednesday June 26 - Queensland v New South Wales Suncorp
Friday June 28 - Rabbitohs v Raiders ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Saturday June 29 - Tigers v Storm Leichhardt Oval, Sydney
Monday July 1 - Roosters v Sea Eagles Allianz Stadium,
Friday July 5 - Sharks v Tigers Sharks Stadium, Sydney
Saturday July 6 - Dragons v Roosters WIN Jubilee Oval,
Sunday July 7 - Returns to the UK