General Warriors Junior Program Reform

Blain

1st Grade Fringe
Apr 18, 2012
2,158
Wellington
It's a logistic nightmare for the Warriors senior team to play NRL next season, let alone the SG ball side. I can't see how you can send a bunch of school kids to COVID Australia for 2-3 months next year. I don't think it can possibly happen TBH. Wouldn't be surprised if Gus's first job is to work out how we are going to get a similar experience into the kids for the foreseeable future. This could be a couple years away.

If the current government is terrified of opening the COVID free Cook Islands (looking like the end of the year), no way will they be opening up Australia travel before March IMO.

Loving the junior chat BTW!
 

Selector

1st Grade Fringe
Apr 2, 2015
2,259
Fears rugby league players from region missing out on NRL due to Covid-19
Source:

The global pandemic has wreaked havoc on the domestic game in Aotearoa, with the national secondary schools and youth tournaments among a host of events to be cancelled.

Experienced administrator and rugby league agent, Jordan Friend, said the coronavirus has been devastating for the development of young players in New Zealand.

"Cancellations of these tournaments will affect players in terms of less exposure, but also mentally for kids not getting that opportunity," he said.

"Even for players who are established, the lack of playing opportunities has already limited their progression this year and there will be a lot of question marks on what's next for these players."

It's a second major blow for the schools tournament which was called off in 2019 because of a measles outbreak.

Former New Zealand Warriors captain Simon Mannering and retiring forward Adam Blair were among the names to have showcased their talents at New Zealand Rugby League's national tournaments, with both players going on to make over 300 NRL appearances.

Auckland-based agent, Dixon McIver, said the recruitment of players in New Zealand was already declining, hitting Māori and Pasifika players the hardest.

"It's really put a big dampener on the kids in particular this 15s, 16s, 17s and even 18 year-old age groups now because the possibilities where they've been waiting to have this crack are gone," he said.

"The players we produce here and that we semi-develop here go into a system, whether it be here or Australia.

"It's evident throughout the NRL now when you start looking at the percentage of players that are Pasifika especially, so this affects the recruitment status of these kids because they then start weighing up the cost of contracting a player from here."

Warriors commitment to NZ juniors questioned

The New Zealand Warriors played a pivotal role in developing junior players in Aotearoa and offered a local pathway to the NRL.

They were the most successful club to compete in the former NRL Under 20s competition, winning three premierships from four grand final appearances and unearthing a raft of first grade stars which included Shaun Johnson, Konrad Hurrell and Sio Siua Taukeiaho.

But it was evident there had been a downturn of homegrown talent being established at the club, with the Warriors starting lineup from this year's opening round, containing just four players who were developed in New Zealand without spending time at another club.

The Warriors announced a new partnership with the Redcliffe Dolphins in June, which was promoted as a shared vision "to enable outstanding young players from Queensland and New Zealand to benefit from the best pathways structure available in the game."

Dixon McIver isn't convinced the deal would support New Zealand-based players, with the Brisbane-based Dolphins acting as a feeder club.

"We've got the best nursery ground of players that they can choose from, we've got the whole of Aotearoa, yet we're turned away from that for some time now." he said.

"They've pretty much given up on their development programmes that they've had prior...and it seems quite obvious with the Warriors now doing a deal with the Redcliffe Dolphins over the next three years, that development from the only NRL club that we have in this country has almost turned its back on our youngsters as well."

Jordan Friend spent eight years at the Warriors, most recently in charge of junior recruitment and pathways, but finished on the same day the Redcliffe partnership was announced.

"It was announced as a landmark trans-Tasman rugby league deal but my initial thoughts were cost-saving and less playing opportunities," he said.

"In Australia some NRL teams may not have a reserve grade and will give it to the local league club, they've got that opportunity.

"In New Zealand, what we're seeing from a player, parent and agents' perspective, we're saying: what is going to be the opportunity for these boys?"

The Warriors defended their commitment to development pathways, adamant they had done everything possible to rebuild the club amid uncertain times.

An under 18s team debuted in the New South Wales Rugby League's SG Ball Cup earlier this year but the competition was subsequently cancelled, alongside the NRL's second-tier competition, the Canterbury Cup, because of Covid-19.

Warriors CEO Cameron George said the partnership with the Redcliffe Dolphins would ensure a sustainable future.

"The competition was shut down overnight so with that, we lost a lot of revenue and lost a lot of opportunity and we've done a three-year partnership with Redcliffe to rebuild our club," he said.

"We would lose a lot of players if we didn't have that partnership in place because as it stands now we don't have the revenue from this year to be able to sustain three teams in a competition in Australia."

Dixon McIver said the cancellation of the SG Ball competition and uncertainty over its future had left contracted players waiting for answers.

"That was a great opportunity because the U20s provided a squad of 25 kids with opportunities, so it wasn't just the one or two kids flying over to be in Australia to make it, it allowed a group of kids to potentially get that opportunity to fulfil their dreams and to develop."

McIver knew of half a dozen players from this year's squad who were now looking for clubs overseas.

"Now I get that clubs can't keep all the players, but where does a young 15-year-old in New Zealand expect to play when the only NRL club here has abolished all its junior teams? They've got no choice but to go abroad if they want to play in an NRL system."

NZRL urged to step up

The Warriors were working with New Zealand Rugby League on the possibility of fielding an SG Ball team next year, while the club had appointed Phil Gould as a consultant, as part of a wider vision to implement a long-term academy programme in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

"This is the world of sport in Covid-19 where we live in New Zealand and play in an Australian competition," George explained.

"I've been living with uncertainty since April of this year...so I get that people are concerned with the uncertainty but that's out of our control and that's the real challenge for everyone."

He said the responsibility for the domestic game rested with New Zealand Rugby League and their zones throughout the country.

"Covid-19 has had a huge impact financially on sport and that's going to stifle some progress in the short term," he said.

"But hopefully the governing body such as the New Zealand Rugby League and the NRL and whoever else, invests not only money but time and energy into ensuring that those competitions are retained in order for kids to have the best pathways to come through and play at the elite level."

NZRL have since announced an inaugural schools vs clubs fixture to take place in November.


Chief executive Greg Peters said while he was concerned that participation rates in the game were falling, the match would provide an important pathway moving forward.

"It's a concern for the whole game. This year has been a really unusual and challenging year for all of us, not only in sport, but when you look at participation rates trending down compared to last year by about 15 percent, it's consistent with other winter codes as well."

The fixture was set to be an annual event and Peters hoped the situation would improve further in the new year.

"We're hoping that obviously we can get back to normality next year and that will turn around again and that by standing up some of these national tournaments that we are at least providing something of a pathway so that they're still getting an opportunity to have something to aspire to."
 

gREVUS

Long live the Rainbows and Butterflies
Contributor
May 8, 2012
8,075
I have a 16 year old son who is being actively recruited for next season what are the thoughts on pathways at the moment?
ive never been in the system so take this for what its worth.

having watched the NRL for many many years the number one thing i see is kid gets recruited, and gets a big head, messes up or doesnt measure up and is dumped. This is the most common story in the NRL. Success is fleeting and uncommon.
Take the money while its offered, you never know whats around the corner, but always put your family and your future first. For all the shit i give SJ, he is the perfect example of taking his chances and doing well. The extras must become the norm, and the realisation that your son is about to dedicate 5-15 years of his life to a entertainment that puts you on show 24x7.
In other words its not the pathway alone that makes the difference, its what your son chooses to do with it. Its also a bit like a job, in that once your in the role, getting another role is easier than if you arent in at all.
GET A LAWYER to look at all contracts and understand what they actually mean.
Find people that have been in the system that can tell your son what to expect and what is expected of him.

And dont listen to people that have no idea what they are talking about like me.
 

JaggedJ

1st Grade Fringe
Apr 19, 2018
2,544
First thing I'd be asking is "what are they recruiting him for?" Considering our junior pathways at the moment are non-existent from the outside looking in.

Last thing any kid needs is to be on the books but not actually training/playing at a reasonable standard.

Aside from that Grevus has it right. Talk to people who have been there (agents, ex-players, coaches etc). Pretty much get a broad spectrum of opinions from those who know a lot better than most of us.

Aside from that, be confident and stay humble, work hard, keep learning.

And of course good luck to him whichever path he chooses.
 

Kiwishark

Waterboy
Oct 7, 2020
4
The talk has been about SG Ball should the boarders be open in 2021... He will still play in the 1A regardless of what happens next year as that is priority... again the talk is mainly aimed at SG Ball for 2022 when he has finished school... I have a cousin who is a ex NRL player, Origin and international so I’m set on that advice... My son is a hard worker off the field so that doesn’t worry me... I just read a lot on here about lack of pathways and it’s a little bit of a concern as rugby is definitely an option as well.
 

The Falcon

1st Grade Fringe
Jun 20, 2017
355
Auckland
I would love to see a strong, focused and resourced pathways system implemented.
There are too many talented kids out there to not be playing at a good level. The whole set up including a good quality 1st grade Auckland comp with better exposure would help here too.
it’s frustrating to think what the possibilities are if everyone was on the same song sheet.
 

Flaco

Warriors Bench Player
Jan 7, 2020
24
I would love to see a strong, focused and resourced pathways system implemented.
There are too many talented kids out there to not be playing at a good level. The whole set up including a good quality 1st grade Auckland comp with better exposure would help here too.
it’s frustrating to think what the possibilities are if everyone was on the same song sheet.
Everybody would like this. But we have to ask deeper questions: What, precisely, would a "strong, focused and resourced pathways system" look like? How, exactly, do we upgrade the competitions? What are the elements of local pathways that are working and which are the ones that are inadequate? How do we upskill the coaches who can upskill the players? What resourcing is necessary and where will the funds come from? What kind of out-of-season activities or high school initiatives would better prepare players, coaches and clubs? Can the NZW, the NZRL and the ARL ever forge a coherent pathway development model without acrimony and turf battles? Posters on here can add their questions to these. And when they are all compiled we will have better sense of what questions to ask, which ones dominate, which ones are linked to which others and which are separate and distinct. We should not be afraid of complexity, if complexity is what confronts us. The only thing I am certain about is that there will not be one single cause nor one single answer. It is worth asking Phil Gould, too.
 

Flaco

Warriors Bench Player
Jan 7, 2020
24
Everybody would like this. But we have to ask deeper questions: What, precisely, would a "strong, focused and resourced pathways system" look like? How, exactly, do we upgrade the competitions? What are the elements of local pathways that are working and which are the ones that are inadequate? How do we upskill the coaches who can upskill the players? What resourcing is necessary and where will the funds come from? What kind of out-of-season activities or high school initiatives would better prepare players, coaches and clubs? Can the NZW, the NZRL and the ARL ever forge a coherent pathway development model without acrimony and turf battles? Posters on here can add their questions to these. And when they are all compiled we will have better sense of what questions to ask, which ones dominate, which ones are linked to which others and which are separate and distinct. We should not be afraid of complexity, if complexity is what confronts us. The only thing I am certain about is that there will not be one single cause nor one single answer. It is worth asking Phil Gould, too.
PS this may be of interest: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2...rting-british-rugby-league-inclusivity-crisis
 

The Falcon

1st Grade Fringe
Jun 20, 2017
355
Auckland
There is no doubt exposure of the local game is a big issue and opportunities it provides. There are so many kids with league backgrounds playing first XV rugby. I made a point a wee while ago a strong schools comp would be huge.
participation numbers need to grow, that in part would be assisted by a successful Warriors team you would like to think.
 

matiunz

All Out!
Contributor
Jul 15, 2013
7,156
Sydney
There is no doubt exposure of the local game is a big issue and opportunities it provides. There are so many kids with league backgrounds playing first XV rugby. I made a point a wee while ago a strong schools comp would be huge.
participation numbers need to grow, that in part would be assisted by a successful Warriors team you would like to think.
Always thought League needs to look outside the box in schools, particularly in regards to union. How would a switch to playing summer go? That way they’re not competing directly with union and some union players would benefit from the extra fitness development etc anyways. I know the climate is different but it worked in the UK
 

wizards rage

1st Grade Fringe
Apr 18, 2016
2,402
Tauranga
Always thought League needs to look outside the box in schools, particularly in regards to union. How would a switch to playing summer go? That way they’re not competing directly with union and some union players would benefit from the extra fitness development etc anyways. I know the climate is different but it worked in the UK
Touch rugby - that’s the pathway that needs to be built on to grow the game and align it better to league rather than as a stand alone sport.
 

CompletionRate

1st Grade Fringe
Sep 13, 2015
453
Touch rugby - that’s the pathway that needs to be built on to grow the game and align it better to league rather than as a stand alone sport.
This is where my energy is going. There is no point trying to get full-blown league teams in schools, the Union hegemony is too strong. Summer touch in schools is the way to siphon kids off, the hard part is getting them to register to a club rather than their school XV. Regardless, the NZRL should be pushing organized touch comps in schools - the appetite is there for it - Just needs to be saturated with opportunities to transition to tackle or Rep your region and be scouted.
 

warriorsfan92

1st Grade Fringe
Oct 11, 2013
675
Dunedin, New Zealand
There are 30+ junior players training twice a week at the moment of those about half my son thinks he has played with or against in the 1A and of those 7-8 attended the Blues 18s camp with him about a month a go.
Ah nice. What school does your boy go to? Yeah, they’re in deep. They seem to get the best of those school boys too. Jeremiah asi is talented, as is vila from aorere. The kings 12 is going to be outstanding.
 

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