The Vodafone Warriors are further developing their already successful NYC trial initiative by targeting younger players and confirming Mount Smart Stadium as the venue for the closed trial day component.
The two-day programme will start with the open trial day at Cornwall Park on Saturday, October 15 with an Academy day at Mount Smart Stadium on Sunday, October 16.
Apart from making the club’s home ground a feature of the weekend, Vodafone Warriors recruitment and development manager Tony Iro said the key change was offering the chance to trial in two age groups for the first time.
He said the club was interested in high-achieving rugby league and rugby union players born in the years 1998 and 1999 (under-18) and 2000 and 2001 (under-16).
“Identifying and introducing these players into our system at a younger age will allow us to fast-track their development in our bid to give as many players as possible the best chance of become NRL footballers,” said Iro.
“By having two specific age groups it also encourages those younger players as they will be trialling with players of the same age.”
Iro said using Mount Smart Stadium on day two would enhance the trial experience for those players chosen for the invitation event.
“They’ll have an opportunity to experience the club’s facilities as they go through some testing, development workshops and then ultimately playing on the main field at Mount Smart Stadium,” he said.
“It enables our staff to get a better insight into the players both on and off the field and spend more time assessing their respective levels.
“From the players’ perspective they’ll have the chance to learn from our experienced staff.”
For the Academy Day held on day two, players identified from the trial games at Cornwall Park will join others already in the club’s system plus a handful of players selected by the Vodafone Warriors’ scouting network from the registrations.
Following last year’s trials, a group of players were invited to join the club’s pre-season training programme including Eiden Ackland, Filipo Fahiua, Keanu Dawson and Cyrus Timo-Latu, who all made their NYC debuts with the Vodafone Junior Warriors this year. Others like Romia Roi and A J Murray joined the academy squad.
Jazz Tevaga, who emerged from the 2013 NYC open trial, went on to play 45 NYC games in 2014 and 2015 before making his NRL debut season (and playing 11 games to date).
Iro said the club now welcomed registrations of interest for the October 15 trial.
“We want as many young players as possible to register but, due to the elite nature of the NYC and the huge interest we attract for our trial, we can’t guarantee everyone who registers will have an opportunity to trial,” he said.
Registrations of interest for the October 15 trial close on Friday, September 30.
Players who are invited to trial must bring their own shorts, socks, mouth guard and boots.
NYC TRIAL PROGRAMME
Saturday, October 15 | Day 1 - Open Trial
Cornwall Park, Puriri Drive, Epsom, Auckland
Registrations (under-16s) From 9.00am, trials from 10.00am
Registrations (under-18s) From 10.30am, trials from 12.00pm
Sunday, October 16 | Day 2 - Academy Day
Mt Smart Stadium, 2 Beasley Avenue, Penrose, Auckland
Registrations close Friday, September 30