Bulldogs show kids finer points of footy
CHAMPION Tweed rugby league players of the future joined an elite camp on the weekend to get footy tips from the best.
The junior players from several Tweed and Gold Coast clubs attended the Canterbury Bulldogs training camp at Tallebudgera Recreation Centre to get the inside knowledge on what it takes to make it to the top of the league ladder.
Star attraction was Bulldog's goal kicking maestro Hazem El Masri fresh from the grand final win over the Roosters and setting a record as the first premier league player to score 300 points in a season.
Bulldogs development manager Mark Hughes said through his club's affiliation with the Burleigh Bears and Group18 juniors, they ran a threeday camp each year to foster talented young players and give them a realistic idea of what lay ahead of them if they made it to the premier grade.
Hughes said the Bulldogs usually brought four or five of the team to the camp but eight of the members were tied up on representative duties, four to play for Australia and four for New Zealand in Saturday's Tri-Nations test.
Hughes said he was impressed with the talent and dedication shown by the young players at the camp.
"They were terrific, all with marvellous attitudes and really thankful to be invited to the camp," he said.
"They were gobsmacked to see Hazem there and he really developed an affinity with them, especially the goal kickers, as he showed them how to visualise their approach, to handle the pressure and his practice routine."
Hughes said rugby league at the top level was a professional sport which asked a lot of its players.
"We like to make them aware of the challenges they will face over the next few years, goal-setting, good nutrition - all the things that will become important," he said.
"We also try to give them a balanced perspective of what it takes to make it in the big-time, training five days a week, lots of time in the gym. It's a big ask."
Hughes, who played in three grand finals for Bulldogs in 1974, 1979 and 1980, said the controversy that dogged the club earlier in the year had created a greater awareness of the need to give young players guidance.