NRL swoop for Redcliffe duo

Published 9:30am 3 July 2024

NRL swoop for Redcliffe duo
Words by Nick Crockford

Pictured: Ryan White, left and James Peni putting pen to paper for their new NRL clubs.

Two Redcliffe State High School (RSHS) students have been snapped up by NRL clubs.

Ryan White has put pen-to-paper for Melbourne Storm and James Peni, 15, with Canterbury Bulldogs. Both have signed three-year deals.

Jay Wilkinson, Director of Rugby League at RSHS, said the school is “delighted” for both students, who will stay at the school and local clubs.

“This doesn’t come without a lot of hard work,” he said, “it’s great for them, recognition of what they have done … and I think what we’ve done for the boys.”

Ryan White after putting pen to paper for Melbourne Storm

Ryan, 14, has played for RSHS since Year 7 and Redcliffe Dolphins since Under 6s. He is now with the Under 15s and also plays for Sunshine Coast Schoolboys.

James, 15, plays for Burpengary Jets and RSHS. He was at the Roosters and Dolphins NRL academies and plays for the Queensland Schoolboys.

“Ryan’s a very coachable young man,” Jay said, “he acts on feedback really well - it’s one of his biggest strengths - he listens, he tries his hardest at everything he does.

“We first saw Ryan back in Year 5 and wanted him at the school. He’s definitely got the potential if things go right for him.

“James has been with us a long time. He’s a physically big young man. I think a lot of clubs see the potential in him.

James Peni shakes hands on his deal to join Canterbury Bulldogs

“For James (signing for Bulldogs is) that extra level of guidance on how to train and act. He’s definitely a talented young man with the world at his feet.”

James will go into RSHS’s senior program next year and push for a place in the Langer Cup team. Ryan is in the school’s top Year 10 side and will target the Langer Cup in Year 11.

Signing for Storm is reward for a decision Ryan made last year: “I knew I needed to work on things,” he said, “I got really fit, started taking footy seriously and stopped athletics.

“They were at the Sunshine Coast trials and saw how much effort I’d put in since last year.”

White was invited to the Storm academy and felt nervous as a “newbie” but went back to the state championships and was offered an NRL contract.

NRL swoop for Redcliffe duo
Ryan White ready to take on new challenges with Melbourne Storm.

“I didn’t think I was good at football and could make the next tier until this happened,” he said, “it was really quick, but I said yes straight away.

“The Storm watch my games, give me feedback. They say I’ve done a lot of hard work, but the hard work doesn’t stop now.

“I know I have to keep putting in extras that other people might not.”

Ryan will go to Geelong in January for a camp with the Storm senior players and those from the Under 15-18 teams.

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