Newcastle Knights Luke Yates, Bradie Smith and Bryce Donovan have received a major pre-season boost by earning an invitation to the Emerging Blues Camp this weekend.
The camp, which is run by NSW Blues coach Laurie Daley, is about preparing young players for an elite Origin pathway and focuses on Origin culture. It includes workshops and lectures on sports science and team leadership.
“It’s good to be recognised to be on that pathway, I’m pretty excited to get into camp,” Yates told Knights TV.
The NYC Knight has already had a taste of representing his State in the under 16s and 18s NSW squads and is thrilled to again be identified as one of the league’s aspiring Origin reps.
“The camps are really the best part about it, getting away with the boys for a week or so and having that Origin feel and having mentors talk to us," Yates added.
The 19-year-old also looks forward to taking on a leadership role when his teammates Donovan and Smith experience the NSW Origin culture for the first time.
“I’d say they would be more nervous than I am because I know a few of the blokes who are going to be there and they don’t really know anyone," Yates explains.
“I’ll just make sure they are alright and hang around them.”
He himself will be looking to his NYC teammates Sione Mata’utia and Jake Mamo who attended the event last year and went on to represent in the under 20s 2014 NSW Origin squad as well as make their NRL debut.
“They were in it last year and ended up playing NRL and kicking on to be very successful in their last year,” he said.
“I will talk to them to see what they did in their camp and what they did to prepare for training and stuff like that for the trials.”
The Newcastle bred prop started his career with the Knights in the under 15s Chargers side, graduated to the under16s, SG Ball and this year played a successful season with the minor premiership winning NYC Knights.
On the back of this hard work, the forward has stepped up to train with the NRL in the pre-season and has his sights set on a progression to the NSW Cup Knights and eventually first grade.