The next generation of rugby league stars had the chance to meet and be coached by some of their idols during Broncos Junior Rugby League Coaching Clinics in the Moreton Bay Region this week.
Broncos Game Development Manager Paul Dyer says about 100 juniors took part in clinics at Bribie Island on Monday and Albany Creek on Wednesday.
They had the chance to meet Tom Flegler, John Asiata, Corey Paix, Paul Dyer, Mick Hancock, David Stagg, NRL development staff and former Bribie juniors Jack Reed and Matt Gillett at Bribie Island Junior Rugby League.
Matt Lodge, Tevita Pangai, John Asiata, Tom Dearden, Paul Dyer, Mick Hancock, Matt Gillett and NRL development staff then went to Albany Creek Junior Rugby League Club on Wednesday night to run a session there.
Dyer says places in the clinics were offered to children who had signed on for the season and to some schools at Bribie.
“We spent about an hour with them, taking them through a variety of different coaching drills. We then gave away prizes, the kids asked questions of the players and the players signed autographs. It was a great afternoon,” he says.
The Broncos have already received emails from parents saying how much the kids love the clinics.
He says one young girl, who was invited to attend the Bribie session via her school, loved it so much she is signing on to play this season.
“That’s the power of them coming down and enjoying the session, and introducing them to the sport,” he says.
Dyer says it was a great lead-up to the Brisbane Broncos V North Queensland Cowboys trial game at Moreton Daily Stadium on Saturday night.
The Broncos have eight full-time game development staff who work with about 50,000 juniors each year, plus coaches, to grow the game and foster a high standard of training at grassroots level.
Dyer said if the Broncos wanted to recruit players in Queensland, the club had a responsibility to give back.
“The players love it. It’s a bit of a release for the players. They live in an intense bubble lifestyle and high-pressure environment that comes with playing professional sport,” Dyer says.
“Sometimes the clinics can be as beneficial for the kids as it can be for the players.”
He says Matt Gillett and Jack Reed particularly enjoyed returning to their old junior club at Bribie Island on Monday.
Gillett was forced to retire early about 12 months ago, due to injury, and has joined the Broncos Game Development team to pursue his passion for growing the game at a junior level.
“He loves it,” Dyer says.
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