Laurie Daley Cup Preview – Northern Pool

Updated: February 15, 2019

Northern Rivers Titans

Incoming Northern Rivers Titans Coach Justin Stewart is thrilled his team gets to come up against teams like Parramatta for the first time and hopes his side will be competitive and play with a lot of attitude.

Stewart has ten years of coaching experience behind him with the Manly Sea Eagles, Newcastle Knights and Central Coast Roosters Harold Matthews sides and the NSW Schoolboys Under-15’s side.

This is the first year Northern Rivers have incorporated strength and conditioning training and the players have been accessing Anytime Fitness gyms with specialised programs around their development produced by the Gold Coast Titans.

Stewart says the academy is already seeing the benefits of the newly-formed partnership with the Gold Coast Titans.

“The players can see a pathway; it just enhances the Titans footprint in the area and provides us with a bit of direction in terms of coaching philosophies, so it’s been good,” Stewart said.

Stewart’s players to watch include second-rower Ethan Forster and 2018 NSW Country Under-16’s Representative Simon Pratt.


North Coast Bulldogs

The North Coast Bulldogs finished up in third place on the ladder last year but are coming into 2019 with a new Coach and new attitude.

Coach Darrin Dark, who has 30 years of playing and coaching experience, is happy with how the side has been progressing since November.

“I’m excited about being in charge of this group of young men and there should be improvement in us the whole way,” Dark said.

North Coast participated in a Coaching Clinic in Port Macquarie in early February that was run by the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs staff as part of their commitment to the North Coast region and to CRL.

Dark affirmed the resources the Bulldogs provide have been of huge benefit to both the North Coast players and the coaches.

“The resources that they bring and the new techniques and training ideas have been fantastic, especially as Coach to improve your coaching, which helps you to push your players.

“With those skills, the Bulldogs break it down for us and make us better.”


Greater Northern Tigers

Returning Greater Northern Tigers Coach Peter Stevens couldn’t be happier with his young squad and despite not having the luxury of trial, expects them to be keen and ready to go.

“We have a couple of younger players that have come up from the Under-16’s and trained well and I’m excited to see what they can add,” Stevens said.

“We haven’t overcomplicated it, I just want them to get out there to try and shift the ball around without overplaying our hand and play what’s on offer.”

There a number of returning players, like Captain Sam Wentworth and fullback Trent Taylor, who Stevens will be relying on to guide the younger players around the field.

Stevens has been coaching the Laurie Daley Cup side for the last few years and has noticed the benefits of CRL’s partnership with Anytime Fitness.

“Any town that has an Anytime Fitness I know our boys have been utilising so it’s been really good, especially considering the range of distance we live apart.”


Newcastle Knights DS

Newcastle Knights Development Squad Coach Andrew Fawcett says the Knights have their eye on the future while also being extremely competitive at the same time, after taking out the 2018 Championship title in their first year in the competition.

Fawcett is familiar with the old format of the Country Championships, having been involved with the Newcastle Rebels Under-16’s and Under-18’s teams. He also Coached the Maitland Pickers to a 2018 Newcastle Rugby League Under-19 premiership.

Fawcett maintains it has been a fantastic group effort from the team in the off season, though there have been some who have particularly impressed him, including front rower Brock Greacen .

After a successful maiden season, Fawcett is hopeful this year’s squad can follow suit.

“Our focus has been on core skills, making sure were developing individual core skills and team core skills,” Fawcett said.

“If we do those things really well as team we’ll look to hopefully advance a bit further than the pool stage of the competition.”


Central Coast Roosters

The Central Coast Roosters welcome new Coach Matthew Hunter, who has experience coaching the Newcastle Knights Harold Matthews side, Central Coast Centurions and Central Coast Storm in the NSWRL.

“I’m excited to get back into it, I have a passion towards developing juniors on the Central Coast,” Hunter said.

Hunter says the Roosters have a strong, competitive squad this year and the work the Sydney Roosters do on the Central Coast shows through the development of the players.

“The squad has been able to maintain a lot more players, seeing as there is now a pathway through the Roosters it has strengthened up the rest of the programs in place.

“Our Captain and second-rower Kyle Mclean will be one to watch because of his dedication to the program and his ability to lead on the field. Eli Stevenson will be another; he is an electric and elusive player that will hard for other teams to handle.”


Parramatta Eels

The Parramatta Eels are joining the Junior Representative Pathway for the first time and Coach Emad Alameddine is excited for his team to test themselves in the Northern Pool, after working particularly hard in defence in the off-season.

Alameddine has coached in Wentworthville Junior Rugby League and the Parramatta Under-17’s development squad for the last two years and believes his side is ready for a new challenge.

“Our goal is to go there and compete, that’s the main thing, to go and give it a good crack,” Alameddine said.

“There’s not much expectation at the moment seeing as it our first year in the competition, so we’re just going to go hard and go for the win.”