Former Kiwis Francis Meli and David Faiumu are set to pass on their rugby league know-how to the next wave of future stars at next week’s NZRL National High Performance Camp in Cambridge.
Kicking off Tuesday 25 April, the four-day NZRL 16s and 18s National High Performance Camp will bring together 80 of the top Kiwi teenagers who will learn what it takes to pursue a career in professional rugby league.
Between Meli and Faiumu, 14 Tests and 6 Tests respectively, their experience playing in the NRL and at International level will provide beneficial insights to the teenagers looking to reach the pinnacle of rugby league.
NZRL National Talent Manager David McMeekan says the camp in Cambridge will not only focus on position specific skill development but also equips them with the tools to navigate their off-field careers too.
"It’s about giving them the necessary skills to grow into World Cup Kiwi winners in 2021.
"We not only want them to leave the camp having fine-tuned their ball skills, we want them to be aware of the other factors that have the ability to affect their professional careers as international footy players," McMeeken says.
The camp will incorporate education around signing contracts, relocating from home, personal brand, resilience and career pathways so players are aware of what to expect if they are fortunate enough to attain an NRL contract.
"A 16 year-old today, could feature in that 2021 World Cup, we want to have the best team out on that field in 2021," McMeekan says.
Kiwis that have come through previous years of the National High Performance Camp include Tuimoala Lolohea and James Fisher-Harris and Warriors players Ken Maumalo, Erin Clark and Isiah Papalii.
Hornby Panthers youngster Jordan Riki who picked up Most Valuable Player at last year’s camp and the NZRL 16s Player of the Year award for 2016, will attend the National camp for the third time at the age of 17 and looks to follow in their footsteps.
New Zealand Rugby League now have a calendar of fixtures for 16s and 18s in 2017 which will take things up a level from merit teams in previous years. These fixtures will include players selected from the 16s and 18s trial matches taking place on Friday 28 April at the conclusion of National High Performance Camp.
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