WITH four NRL clubs engaged in trial matches within the VB Gold Group 2 catchment area this weekend, recruitment plans have stepped up a gear.
A joint project involving ARL and Country Rugby League development officers and the South Sydney, Gold Coast, Penrith and Newcastle clubs, will have professional coaches and visiting players blitzing schools and club sign-on events from today with the final promotional event involving the Titans held next Tuesday.
ARL development officer Mike Castle said scheduling the visits to obtain maximum exposure for the code has been a massive undertaking.
“More than a dozen schools are involved and with the resources of the development staff, junior leagues and visiting players, it’s been a huge undertaking,” he said.
To promote the trial between the Panthers and Knights, Penrith players will today visit schools allied to the Macleay Valley Mustangs including St Paul’s, St Joseph’s, Kempsey High, Kempsey South Public, Macleay Vocational College and Melville High.
As part of the CRL Community Carnival, visits will take place at Port Sharks allied schools in Port Macquarie, Laurieton, Wauchope and Lake Cathie.
But the biggest sign-on event will get under way from 2pm this Saturday at Coffs Coast Sports and Leisure Park, opposite the main entry to BCU International Stadium.
Hosted jointly by Orara Valley Tomahawks, Sawtell Panthers and Coffs Harbour Comets junior clubs, all kids signing up to play club footy in 2011 will receive a free ticket to the NRL trial between the Rabbitohs and Titans.
“In addition, they receive a free junior bank account cour- tesy of BCU and a poster,” Castle said.
“And the first 200 kids to register will also receive a boot bag, water bottle and bag tag on top of that.”
A table will be set up at the venue where youngsters – including out-of-town visitors – can sign up to play for any junior club in NSW.
Souths and the Titans have each contributed a player jumper to be raffled for junior development and all signed kids have been invited to form the guard of honour leading onto the main arena as players run out.