One of the great things about Rugby League is the opportunity for anyone to play. Regardless of stature or build, the game has always had a place for the crafty halfback, or explosive and quick-footed fullback. Scrawny Ken Irvine, the untouchable flyer who scored try after try in front of the famous fig-tree at North Sydney Oval. Cheeky Alan Langer, all five-foot-four of him, running circles around New South Wales’ defenders at Lang Park in front of an origin crowd. The feather-weight Preston Campbell, inspiring indigenous players all around Australia as the 75 kilogram pocket rocket took out the games highest honour, the Dally M medal, in 2001.
Whilst the game has evolved and the athletes have gotten bigger, the small man can still dominate on the field. You look at the crop of players from the modern era being considered for an induction to the ‘Immortals’ in the future, and it’s not the Sam Kasiano’s or Sam Burgess’s of the game. Players like Jonathan Thurston, Darren Lockyer and Billy Slater have all carved their way into history through hard work in developing their technical ability, all the while giving away dozens of kilograms to their opposition.
Developing these skills at a young age provides smaller players a huge advantage going forward into their adolescent years. Whilst the Tuesday-Thursday training routine might be enough to maintain a basic fitness level and develop team cohesion, players looking to take that next step up into the Junior Reps teams should be looking to further develop and practice their skills beyond the average level, particularly if they possess a smaller frame.
Gone are the days when the game plan was “Run hard! Tackle hard!”. Halves can perfect their kicking and passing kicks. Outside backs can work on their footwork and explosive acceleration off the mark. Every player on the park can continue to perfect their tackle technique. It’s important to remember; hard work beats talent when talent refuses to work hard.
DNA Sports Coaching runs Rugby League clinics that provide a professional environment to nurture young players and teach them the technical aspects of Rugby League that will take their game to a new level. An experienced team of coaches is headed by former NRL coach Rick Stone, who knows first hand what it takes to be a great player.
These July school holidays, DNA are holding training academy’s for Rugby League players looking to take their game to the next level. Clinics are being held in Canberra, Goulburn, the Central Coast and Maitland. If your son or daughter is aged between 8-16 and looking for a pathway to the elite level of our game, book them a spot today!