Trip of a lifetime for Rovers youngsters
For the first time in the club's history, the club's U20s have embarked on a pre-season tour of Australia.
The tour – which is for 19 days – has finally come to fruition after two years of planning, and has been hailed as a trip of a lifetime that will give the Robins' youngsters an insight into how a different culture approaches the sport, as well as an invaluable life experience.
The players are based in the heart of the east coast just outside of Sydney in New South Wales, where rugby league is as big as football is in London, and the tour will culminate in the squad playing matches against a Wests Tigers' representative side (Tuesday January 24th), Wests Tigers' U20s (Friday January 27th) and the Canterbury Bulldogs (Thursday February 2nd).
Martin Dunn, the club's Head of Youth, has played a major role in setting up the trip and is excited at what lies ahead for the young Robins.
“Over the last four years we have tried to put more development tools in place for the youth and this is one of them,” he said. “We thought this was the ideal time with the group of players that we have got, and the continuing stream of players that have come through over the last four years.
“The trip will be a learning curve for them in more ways than one. They will find out how another country prepares for their season as they will be training with the Wests Tigers and Manly.
“It is a cultural development as well as a player development, which is really important because a lot of these lads will have never been away from home for this length of time.
“We have four members of staff going with them but the players will have to look after themselves and show a great level of maturity.
“They will see what the Australian culture towards rugby league is all about over there when they take part in community and school activities. I think this will bode well for them as they continue to develop as human beings as well as players.
“Giving players the chance to go on a trip like this at a young age will prepare them well for later on in their careers when, and if, they are selected to go on tours.
“The lads have done a certain amount of fundraising for themselves to help finance the trip which again implements a learning curve for them. They have had to think for themselves and put some planning and management tools in place, and to the guys' credit they've done that.
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