The next generation of Rabbitohs may have had their first contact with the Club last week, with a group of talented 15 and 16 year old players convening at St Johns College, Woodlawn (Lismore) as part of Souths’ Northern Rivers Development Camp.
The group, identified by Rabbitohs scouts, were run through their paces by the Club’s recruitment team, including the likes of Grant Jones and Ben Rogers, as well as recently retired Rabbitohs Matt King and Ben Lowe.
As part of the proceedings, players went through a two-day introduction camp covering attack and defensive skills, as well as gym sessions, recovery techniques and welfare talks related to relocation to Sydney.
For Recruitment Officer, Grant Jones, the camp was all about identifying and developing individuals as players and people.
“Development of talent is high on the list of priorities at South Sydney – whether it’s local or external,” said Jones.
“We’re fortunate to have a great Rugby League nursery in the form of Souths Juniors in our own backyard, but what we’re looking to do here is complement that talent by providing opportunities to players outside of our district – particularly in country areas to show their wares and develop.
“This is a good opportunity for these kids to get a first-hand look at what’s required of a Rabbitohs player, and a way to get them into good habits early.”
For Rabbitohs Auckland Nines hero, Matt King, the camp was a home-coming of sorts – the former Test player having attended St John’s Woodlawn as a teen.
Having grown up in Casino, King is familiar with the challenges associated with kids from the country scoring opportunities.
“I know how hard it is for country kids to get an opportunity obviously having lived through it,” said King.
“Now in the position I am as a development coach at Souths, I get the opportunity to come back and pass on my knowledge.
“It’s just a saying we have at South Sydney, that ‘opportunity is everything’, and these young guys – I’ve been speaking to them about taking opportunities when they pop up.”
The camp is the first in a series of camps that will be conducted across New South Wales, Queensland and New Zealand.