Lo­cals Pride of place

RUGBY

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - SPORT - by ANGELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

FOUR lo­cal rugby league play­ers have shown they have what it takes be­ing se­lected for the North­ern Pride Academy for next sea­son.

Un­der-14 play­ers Quin­lan Can­non, Fraser Cot­ton and Adrian Wright-Brown and Un­der-16 player Cur­tis Hober will train with the best in the re­gion ready to come up against the tough­est in the state.

North­ern Pride CEO Chris Shep­pard said be­ing se­lected means the play­ers will have ac­cess to most of the fa­cil­i­ties and ser­vices the pro­fes­sional play­ers have.

“The play­ers will get ac­cess to the best ex­per­tise train­ing meth­ods and re­sources and they are bench­marked against kids across the coun­try so they know where they need to be in terms of en­durance and strength,” he said.

“They will have ac­cess to doc­tors, phys­ios, psy­chol­o­gists, the whole lot keep­ing it real pro­fes­sional and high per­for­mance units give kids ac­cess to that at a very young age, which def­i­nitely will get more kids through to NRL and the State of Ori­gin.

“It’s a pretty big in­vest­ment the club has made but it has grown ex­po­nen­tially and now we’re mov­ing for­ward and have 20 play­ers in ev­ery age group from Un­der-12 through to Un­der-18.”

The fi­nal 20 for some age groups are yet to be con­firmed but for Can­non, Cot­ton, Wright-Brown and Hober, their train­ing with the North­ern Pride Academy will start next month.

“From Novem­ber they will be train­ing twice a week and that will go all the way through to trial games in Fe­bru­ary and the com­pe­ti­tion starts in March,” Shep­pard said.

“It’s ac­tu­ally a statewide com­pe­ti­tion, they’ll play seven games, two dou­ble-head­ers, one up here and one down in Bris­bane against Bris­bane teams.

“Win­ners go through to the fi­nal and the Queens­land win­ners will play NSW win­ners, it re­ally is a na­tional com­pe­ti­tion, which is great for the kids to get a high level of com­pe­ti­tion, fan­tas­tic for their de­vel­op­ment.”

Shep­pard said a lot of tal­ent for the North­ern Pride has come from all over the dis­trict, not just Cairns.

“There is a lot of tal­ent all around the re­gion and what we’re here for re­ally is to help the guys go to the next level from as close to home as pos­si­ble,” he said.

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