By GREG WHITE
AN interview with Danny Vaughan in the Newcastle Herald is worth noting by parents with youngsters engaged in tomorrow's North Coast semi final at Allan Gillett Oval.
The former Sawtell star plays for Maitland in the Real NRL competition and is prop forward in the Newcastle Division team to play in the upcoming CRL Championship final.
The Newcastle Knights are chasing his signature for 2006 and if he signs, it will be his second bite of the cherry.
Vaughan talks about his first excursion to the city with Wests Tigers at the end of 2002.
After a trip to New Zealand in the Under-19 squad he stayed on for the pre-season.
The Tig Tog's contribution to his living expenses was a princely $120 per week and after a couple of months getting behind, he pulled up stumps and returned to his beloved Panthers.
Danny's story is likely to have a happy ending but that isn't the way with countless others lured to the city clubs with stars in their eyes, only to find the reality not what they'd imagined.
Tales of players being cut loose once their junior season ends and being unable to return to their home competitions thanks to antiquated CRL rules, abound.
For those who remain there are the tales of questionable living and employment arrangements that leak out serving to spoil the good news for the majority who find the experience a brilliant start to life.
So, mums and dads with kids on centre stage tomorrow at Macksville, be aware of what you may expect.
If junior shows even a smidgeon of ability he's going to find himself surrounded by talent scouts from the city offering the world.
Some of them will be rather famous and that in itself will be enough to intimidate the unwary.
Talk to your boy, particularly if he's still a minor.
If anyone approaches ensure he makes no comment and sends the scout in your direction.
Don't sign anything. If things progress, get a reputable manager.
It's better to have Mr.Ten Percenter in your corner making sure the promises make it onto the contract form rather than finding out too late something's missing.
Be especially aware of living arrangements, schooling and employment.
But most of all, find out what happens for the other weeks of the year when there's no football being played.
The kids who make it to the top are in the minority.
Many others still have a long and useful career if they plan it from the start.
Playing for the Coast tomorrow is a fantastic opportunity.
Use it wisely and well.