Titanic deal sets league juniors on course
RUGBY LEAGUE: In a giant step forward for Northern Rivers juniors, the Gold Coast Titans have formalised their support of local juniors by signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Country Rugby League.
The new partnership is aimed to strengthen the Titans long-term relationship with the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League and Group 1 and Group 18 Junior Rugby League's and provides a valuable representative development pathway and clear visual link to the club for all involved.
It will also see the top-tier NRL club linked with the region's burgeoning representative ranks in the Andrew Johns Cup (Under-16s) and Laurie Daley Cup (Under-18) competitions.
While the Titans have already had strong ties to the Northern Rivers region, setting up a talent identification and pathways program, which has spotted successful juniors Ben Liyou and Ethan Forster in recent years, this new partnership is set to strengthen the bond, according to CRL high performance manager Matt Parish.
"The signing of the MOU between the CRL, Northern Rivers Region and Gold Coast Titans both formalises and improves on the current arrangement,” Parish told The Daily Examiner.
"We applaud the Titans and the work they have done in the Northern Rivers over many years, but this new partnership provides additional resources and opportunities for players, coaches and trainers in the region including the creation of satellite programs, coaching updates and the establishment of a clearly defined pathway and visual link to the NRL club.”
The NRL is currently flooded with players who got their start in the bush, and the Titans are not void of that with Grafton junior Anthony Don signed to the club, but it is expected it will only increase because of this deal and similar deals around the state.
"Over 30% of NRL players currently come from regional NSW, but it's never easy to make it to the elite level,” Parish said.
"What partnerships like this can do however - is allow players to stay at home with their family and support networks and finish their education without having to leave home to take a shot at making it in the NRL.
"These partnerships provide players with the support, resources and training programs to prepare themselves to be the best that they can be.”
The deal will also see the Titans improve their exposure in the region, with more coaching development days and player meet and greets.
The Titans believe that the talent pool in the Northern Rivers region is currently overflowing, with many players already identified as future prospects, and now the club is ready to capitalise on that.