Sawtell star links with Newcastle Knights
SAWTELL rugby league prot?g? Jason McGrady Jr has taken the first step to an NRL career by linking with the Newcastle Knights.
"They approached me at the Port Macquarie game in the first round and asked if I'd be interested in taking up a Knights scholarship and naturally, I agreed," the Panther halfback said.
"The scholarship lasts until the end of next year and I'll be involved with a lot of activities during that time.
"There's a camp I'll be attending in Newcastle at the end of the year and they'll let me know in the next few weeks the full program."
McGrady was spotted by Knights Recruitment and Welfare Manager, Mick McEntyre OAM, who said the club is excited by the raw talent displayed by the youngster.
"The agreement is an expression of the potential we see in Jason," he said.
"He'll be guided through a range of football activities including specialised coaching, health, nutrition and setting him up for a promising future.
"We'll monitor his progress when he comes to Newcastle and while he's at home, his club coach Greg Shuttleworth will act as a guide and mentor."
McEntyre said the Knights will supply gear and assist with travel and accommodation costs.
"We like to have the young blokes stay in their home town and complete their HSC before coming to the club full time," he added.
"Taking them away from their usual routine isn't always in their best interests.
"I've met Jason's family and am confident his football progress will be better in that sort of caring environment.
"At the end of 2008, we'll all sit down to see how it's gone and work out a strategy for the future."