Eels greats sweat it out with the Parramatta Academy
Thursday 19 September 2013 4:00 PM
The Parramatta Eels Academy has been joined by some Blue and Gold greats as they were put through their paces for the final session of 2013.
Having trained together since May, the boys were joined by Luke Burt, Nathan Hindmarsh, Nathan Cayless and Andrew Ryan as they slogged it out.
"You wouldn't have known here were 14 and 15 year old kids there, they were all at a talent level at that was quite exceptional," Luke Burt said.
"I was quite surprised at the skill level of the younger boys and the older boys, so the future looks bright at Parramatta."
The group of 30 boys, aged between 14 and 17, have been training every Monday for the past five months, under the watchful eye of Craig Wilson, who looks after Player Development, Coaching and Recruitment with the Eels.
"The whole premise of it is teaching the boys good habits," Wilson said.
"The model of the club is 80 percent physical, 10 percent tactical and 10 percent technical, so it’s just about getting them to understand that there’s a responsibility on them to be more accountable in everything they do.”
Andrew Ryan, who now works in the National Rugby League's Education and Welfare department, says the Academy set-up is something he would have loved to experience when starting his own football career 15 years ago.
"For these kids, they’re very fortunate to get access to the facilities and to the coaches," he said.
"It’s a great head start for them and they’re obviously very talented kids; they’re the ones you want to see, the ones putting the extra effort in and hopefully they have long NRL careers."
"For the four of us [ex-NRL players] here tonight, it felt like it was only yesterday that we were sitting here as 18 year old kids looking for an opportunity. Now we’re all a bit older and a bit slower, but we’ve been lucky."
Click here to see the gallery of photos from the training session, including Hindy, Burty, Cayless and Bobcat!