The Under 16s Newcastle Knights are headed to New Zealand.
After an impressing 28-8 victory against the Canterbury Bulldogs in the 2019 Harold Matthews Cup grand final, the team has been rewarded with a development excursion across the Tasman.
The trip will see the side face a culturally diverse Warriors outfit and will aim to bring the players together to better their playing ability.
Elite Pathway Programs Manager, Casey Bromilow believes the experience will do wonders for their development.
“It’s a really good opportunity, we’re going to play against the New Zealand Warriors over there,” Bromilow said.
“Those guys won’t have ever had experience playing against a team that is predominantly Polynesian and quite big and strong.
“A lot of those players we’ve identified as potential future stars. We thought, we want to reward them with a trip to be a part of the club and wear the colours once again.”
The trip will last seven days and will include two games for the side.
The first match, against a local side in Auckland, will act as a warm-up game before facing the Warriors Under 16s a few days later.
There will be plenty of expectation on this side which is filled with representative talent.
Fletcher Myers, Jonah Pezet, Noah Reed, Noah Nailagolina, Oryn Keeley, Max Bradbury and Lachlan Crouch all represented the NSW Under 16s Origin side, while Christopher Vea’ila is an Under 16s Pacifica representative.
“It’s just a really good opportunity for this group because we had eight representative players from this team,” Bromilow said.
“It’s a really good chance for these guys to build their relationships together, because the club’s plans are to see them form over the next few years, some long-term partnerships that lead to first grade.
“It’s a bit of a reward for them but at the end of the day this trip is not a holiday, it’s about playing footy and playing good footy.
“It will be a good test for them to now challenge themselves against a different type of opposition.”
The trip has been part-funded by the Club, players and Knights supporters club.
“We really want to thank the Newcastle Knights supporters club, they’ve kindly donated $3,000 towards this trip to help send the boys over so that they can reduce the cost of the tour and give the boys a good experience,” Bromilow said.