The Canberra Raiders will continue their strong history of developing pathways for rugby league players into the future, with the club committing to a strong development focused pathways program from 2018.
With the NYC competition in its current format set to finish at the end of 2017 season, the Raiders will strengthen their alliance with NSWRL Club Mounties, adding the under 20s program alongside the NSW Cup team.
The Raiders alignment with Mounties at a senior level has been a huge success since they joined as development partner in 2012, with both clubs aligning their under 20’s players in the new State based competition from 2018.
The change will be a natural progression from the Raiders junior development program, which has expanded over the past two years, to include development squads at under 13s, 14s and 15s levels, to coincide with the Raiders under16s (Harold Matthews Cup) and under 18’s (SG Ball Cup) junior representative teams.
Canberra Raiders CEO Don Furner said the alignment with Mounties has given the Raiders the opportunity to play their NRL squad players in the highest possible standard of competition below the NRL and the new alignment at under 20s level would allow the same level of competitive competition needed for player development at a state level.
“The Raiders have always had a strong focus on player development and the natural progression for our players is to ensure they play in the best available competitions as they make their way through the grades and into the NRL,” Furner said. “The Raiders have had a wonderful and successful partnership with Mounties since aligning in 2012 and with the end of the NYC in its current format we see an alignment in the state based under 20s as the best possible pathway for our development players.
“The Raiders boast one of the most comprehensive development pathways in the competition, with squads from under 13s right through to senior ages giving our players the best opportunity to progress into the NRL. We are confident the new pathway from 2018 will continue this progression.”
The Raiders also remain committed to providing their members and fans with the opportunity to experience more top-flight rugby league at GIO Stadium in 2018, with the club committing to having the Mounties and other matches at selected home games.
“We want Raiders members and fans to have the opportunity to watch the next crop of talent coming through and we want our pathways players to have the opportunity to play at our home ground,” Furner said. “We’re in the process of working with the NRL and NSWRL to ensure we can continue to align some matches at GIO Stadium for Raiders affiliated sides in 2018 as curtain raisers for the clubs NRL fixtures.
“We are working through the process of some of our home matches having 2-3 games in 2018, where we expose some of the NSW state competitions, local rugby league and women’s matches. Once we confirm these details we will communicate this to our members and fans.”