'More serious about my touch than my rugby league at one stage'

In a different life, Aidan Guerra could be running around on the touch field at McDonald Jones Stadium this weekend.

The nib Newcastle Knights debut their inaugural touch side in the curtain raiser to Saturday's  game against Canterbury-Bankstown.

Guerra will lead the Knights out in the NRL but credits touch for setting the foundations for his rugby league career.

"I was probably more serious about my touch than my rugby league at one stage there," Guerra said.

"I used to love it. I think it was just ingrained in my growing up in a sporting family.

"I got the opportunity to represent my state in touch and had a ball doing it.


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"I met some really good people and some that are still my friends now. Touch will always be a big part of my life. You can see why these guys and girls here enjoy themselves."

It was through his formative years playing touch that Guerra learned the fundamentals.

While he's now a hard-running edge who often shifts into the middle, the footwork and ball playing ability he possesses started with touch.

"It's a good way to develop your skills," Guerra explained.


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"Especially week in, week out, without the contact as you're developing.

"It's a good place to start. A fair contingent of the females that play at the elite level with the Jillaroos and things like that actually came through the touch system as well.

"The proof is in the pudding there that touch football really does help you become a rugby league player."


It's been an age since Guerra played touch football competitively.

Boasting more than 600,000 participants, touch football is the largest social sport in Australia with an even gender split.

Despite playing rugby league at the elite level, the backrower questions whether he could mix it in the 30-minute game.

"I reckon I'd be a bit of a spot player at the moment," he said.

"A little bit slower than what I used to be.

"The ball skills are a lot different when you're trying to play in the ruck as a forward."

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