The Rabbitohs’ Harold Matthews and SG Ball sides will kick off their respective 2015 campaigns this Saturday in Wollongong against Illawarra.

Both the SG Ball (under 18’s) and Harold Matthews competitions (under 16’s), are direct pathways for promising junior players to a career in the game in the form of a nine round competition and finals series.

SG Ball Coach, former first grader Willie Peters, says his side is ready to take the field after experiencing what he described as a ‘challenging’ off-season.

“We’ve been training now since last November putting the boys through their paces in a lot of different areas,” said Peters.

“The team’s gone through plenty of challenges to prepare well for the season and now we’re ready to take on Illawarra this weekend.”

For Peters, it’s all about developing local talent that can make the jump to the Club’s senior squads.

“We have a policy at Souths where we develop our own players,” said Peters.

“We do have a couple of kids who aren’t from the local area, but our main objective is to develop our own.

“Last year we had quite a few South Sydney Juniors from the program graduate to the NYC and in years gone by, the likes of Dylan Walker and Alex Johnston have done the same – now they’ve won a Premiership and been involved in the Australian side.

“From a coach’s perspective, my job is to ensure as many SG Ball players are ready to move up into Ben Gardiner’s under 20’s side this season and beyond.

“The boys are given the best opportunity for that to happen as well thanks to the close relationship we have with our senior squads. Michael Maguire and Matt King along with our first grade players play an active role in mentoring our boys regularly and our junior teams benefit from that greatly.

“When you look at the Harold Matthews Cup, because the kids are still developing physically, there can be a divide between some sides – Penrith and Parramatta for example generally have much bigger sides in that age group.

“In the SG Ball, while those clubs may still be strong, it’s a very even competition because in that space of a year or two, the kids do develop physically, mentally and in all areas of the game.

“Similar to first grade and the NYC, there just aren’t any easy games – every week is a challenge and every week you have to be up to those high standards that we set.”

The SG Ball Coach emphasised the quality of the Souths Juniors program compared to larger programs in direct competition.

“Other Junior programs out west tend to have a much bigger pool of talent to choose from,” said Peters.

“We might only have a few teams to choose from, whereas others have five or six divisions, so to be consistently competitive – both our sides were one game from the Grand Final last year – it says a lot about the quality we’re producing at this Club.”

 

NSWRL SG Ball Competition 2015

Draw:

Round 1 - Illawarra vs South Sydney, WIN Stadium, Sat 14 February, 4:30pm

Round 2 - Canberra vs South Sydney, Sieffert Oval, Sat 21 February, 4:30pm

Round 3 - South Sydney vs Penrith, Erskineville Oval, Sat 28 February, 3pm

Round 4 - Bye

Round 5 - South Sydney vs Canterbury-Bankstown, Redfern Oval, Sat 14 March, 3pm

Round 6 - South Sydney vs Parramatta, Redfern Oval, Sat 21 March, 3pm

Round 7 - Roosters vs South Sydney, Redfern Oval, Sat 28 March, 1:30pm

Round 8 - Western Suburbs vs South Sydney, Campbelltown Sports Ground, Sat 4 April, 1:30pm

Round 9 - South Sydney vs Cronulla-Sutherland, Redfern Oval, Sat 11 April, 1:30pm

Quarter Finals - Sat 18 April

Semi Finals - Sat 25 April

Grand Final - Sat 9 May

 

NSWRL Harold Matthews Competition 2015

Draw:

Round 1 - Illawarra vs South Sydney, WIN Stadium, Sat 14 February, 3pm

Round 2 - Canberra vs South Sydney, Sieffert Oval, Sat 21 February, 3pm

Round 3 - South Sydney vs Penrith, Erskineville Oval, Sat 28 February, 1:30pm

Round 4 - Bye

Round 5 - South Sydney vs Canterbury-Bankstown, Redfern Oval, Sat 14 March, 1:30pm

Round 6 - South Sydney vs Parramatta, Redfern Oval, Sat 21 March, 1:30pm

Round 7 - Roosters vs South Sydney, Redfern Oval, Sat 28 March, 12pm

Round 8 - Western Suburbs vs South Sydney, Campbelltown Sports Ground, Sat 4 April, 12pm

Round 9 - South Sydney vs Cronulla-Sutherland, Redfern Oval, Sat 11 April, 12pm

Quarter Finals - Sat 18 April

Semi Finals - Sat 25 April

Grand Final - Sat 9 May