Both St George and Illawarra's respective junior representative teams have headed for the Christmas break after a solid build up on the training paddock that culminated in a recent intra-club trial.
After selecting their squads at the culmination of the 2019 season, both junior representative entities have been training since early November.
With squads of approximately 30 players, all six teams have trained up to four times per week and have been lucky enough to have the NRL assistant coaches attend many of their sessions.
"Having the likes of Dean Young, James Shepherd and Shane Flanagan come along to educate the boys and mentor us as coaches is a great experience. The standards that they bring and the technical knowledge they have passed on have been great," Illawarra Steelers Harold Matthews coach Jono Dallas said.
Returning to the Dragons ranks as a coach is former player Kyle Stanley. After a career cruelled by injury, Kyle is loving his time back at the club as St George's SG Ball coach.
"I didn't know what to expect coming in as a coach as it is my first experience, but I have been absolutely loving it," Stanley said.
"To be able to get back out there and be involved again, I am really enjoying it. Having the senior coaches involved has been an enormous help as well."
The Harold Mathews (Under-16s) and SG Ball (Under-18s) from the Steelers and St George trialled against each other last Friday night where there were plenty of positives displayed from both teams.
"Obviously the boys were a little rusty in a few areas, but I’m excited by what I saw," Dallas said.
"I think in the New Year we will continue to focus on the core skills in hope of yet another successful season”
Stanley added: "I saw enough positive signs to make me excited about the season ahead. The trials and competition start very early next year so we need to come back after the break and make sure we hit the ground running."
The junior representative competition begins in early March and both the St George and Steelers teams will play trials on January 18 and 25.
The Dragons are also currently looking for host parents in both the St George and Illawarra areas to support our up-and-coming junior players who are relocating to the area.
Host parents would be provided food and board for the players, with the costs subsidised by the St George Illawarra Dragons.
If you would be interested in being involved with this program, please email the club's Education and Wellbeing Officer Scott Stewart (firstname.lastname@example.org).