Young Rabbitohs Head to 2013 Rookie Camp
Friday 7 December 2012 11:14 AM
Members of the South Sydney Rabbitohs' under 20s squad will head to the NRL's 2013 Rookie Camp at the University of Sydney this weekend, giving them guidance as they head into their first season of big time Rugby League.
Current and former NRL stars including Matt Ballin and Craig Fitzgibbon will mentor more than 110 of the game’s brightest young prospects at two Rugby League camps in Sydney over the next three days.
As well as more than 90 players from the Rabbitohs, Roosters, Sea Eagles, Knights and Eels attending the annual Rookie Camp for players entering the NRL Under 20s Cup in 2013, 24 country NSW boys will take part in the second annual Country to City Education Camp, starting today (Friday).
This weekend’s Rookie Camp, being held at the Sydney University Village, is the third and final camp in the National Youth Competition program that has already seen more than 180 of Rugby League’s future stars take part in extensive induction sessions over the past two weekends at Bond University on the Gold Coast and the University of Wollongong.
Their time was spent entirely in the lecture rooms of the universities – not the football fields – as current and former stars like Ballin, Steve Turner, Dene Halatau, Brett Kimmorley Joel and Tony Caine and Owen Craigie put the players through training in media, cultural awareness, drugs and alcohol, social media, money matters, community work, social responsibility and personal presentation.
The Country to City Education Camp attendees will join in Rookie Camp sessions on Saturday afternoon, but they will also take part in field sessions and a gym session as part of their insight into what it takes to be an NRL Premiership player.
Former NSW and Queensland stars Fitzgibbon and Paul Green will run key sessions at the Country to City Camp which is a joint initiative of Country Rugby League and Dubbo-born former Bulldogs captain Andrew Ryan, now working for the NRL as a Player Welfare and Education Programs Manager.
NRL Senior Welfare and Education Manager, Mr Paul Heptonstall, said the Rookie Camp program underlines the NRL’s ongoing commitment to player education and career training with a goal of increasing the current engagement rate of 74 per cent of NRL players in education or career training to 84 per cent by 2017.
The unique combination of the induction camps, on-going education initiatives and a ground-breaking NRL Under 20s Cup competition that includes mandated non-training days and a “no work/study - no play rule”, sets the NRL program apart.