General Warriors looking to join SG Ball competition

More air miles in store as Warriors look to enter teenagers into SG Ball's U18 comp

Warriors recruitment manager Tony Iro wants to make further investment into the future success of the club

The Warriors want to enter a team in the Australian SG Ball competition to help bring through younger players.

The SG Ball is a NSW Rugby League-run competition for players aged under 18 that is regarded as a stepping stone towards the Holden Cup for players under 20.

It is something the Warriors haven't been a part of, with the best young players either having to play club footy in Auckland or the Holden Cup against players sometimes three years older than them.

The Warriors are looking at making a significant financial investment and fund a fourth team flying over to Australia for games, along with the NRL, NSW Cup and Holden Cup teams.

Ideally that's where we'd like to go," Warriors recruitment and development manager Tony Iro said.

"Certainly when the current agreement with the NRL changes in 2018 it's something we'd like to be a part of.

"Under-18 footy is another layer we can add to the important development of our junior guys. That's definitely one competition we'd like to be a part of.

"NSW Rugby League are aware of that and certainly we'd like to have that sooner rather than later.

"But obviously it's going to be an expense and it's money we'd have to find."
here are 17 teams in the SG Ball. It's mainly made up of teams who are in the NRL, but there's also the Central Coast Centurions, Western Sydney Academy and West Coast Pirates from Perth.

There is a Warriors under-18 squad that trains regularly but doesn't have a competition to play in, and Iro believes those players would benefit from going up against Australian teams each week.

"We've already had some 17 years olds play in the Under 20s this year," he said.

"Ideally it would have been good for those guys to come through the SG Ball competition and play kids of the same age.

"We're not saying that Under 20s isn't a great comp, certainly it is, but the SG Ball gives us an opportunity with the next group of players.

"We've got to get that balance of seeing how much value we get out throwing our best 16-17 year olds into a Sydney comp and being confident that this competition will provide further development opportunities."

Former Warriors NSW Cup coach Willie Swann backs the move.

"Any Australian competition that a New Zealand side competes in will help their development and it gives them a gauge of how they're competing against other juniors of the same age," said Swann, who'll coach Mt Albert in the Auckland club competition this season.

"With the travelling, the time away and the other things that aren't part of the actual game, it's good for the up and coming players to get used to.

"It would be a good learning for them at a young age."

Will be interesting to see what effect this will have on player development in the future.
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Ever Hopeful

This has got to be positive for our youngsters. It will allow them to learn some of the fundamentals of league BEFORE they are legally an adult.

Might see a few more players poached by Aussie clubs though
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Warriors Orange Peeler
Might see a few more players poached by Aussie clubs though
Thing is that the clubs are already doing it and have done for years. Personally Id be more interested in getting a Harold Matthews Cup team going before the SG Ball. Right now thats where the largest chunk of youngsters are being poached from and the one age group we have absolutely nothing to offer the kids. At least with SG Ball aged kids they can play U20's and our best and brightest will be in that team but for the U16s theres nothing but the odd exhibition match for the Warriors Development team.

Anyway. Great step in the right direction and will need to be done once the NYC is cut from the program. Still rather we had our own regional comps going for the kids...
I think this is critical for us as a club moving forward. We need to get our kids playing structured, "professional," competitive league from as early an age as possible. I think this is the one area we really fall behind other NRL clubs...

Great news of they can get the go ahead on this.
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