The Dyldam Parramatta Eels last week welcomed seven athletes from the Northern Territory Institute of Sport to trial for the Eels’ 2015 District Representative Squads.

The young Territory athletes ran out in trials for both Harold Matthews (for 16 and under) and SG Ball (18 years and under), and Palmerston Raiders coach Geoff Cregan, who traveled down with the players from the Territory, says his charges did him and the NT proud.

“There were a lot of nerves before the game the other night, but as soon as they got out on the field they were great,” Cregan said.

“They’ve had a blast; they put in a good game too.”

Eels Academy Assistant Coach Rodney Cremona says the trip to Sydney has opened the eyes of rugby league hopefuls back in the NT about the possibilities of the game. 

“It’s a sensational opportunity,” Cremona said.

“These guys sort of had nothing to aspire to [in] rugby league, but now they can see a pathway and there’s a lot of chatter. I know many other kids who are talking about it, saying ‘can I go next year?’. The opportunity is there now if you take it with both hands.”

Eels Game Development Manager Michael Basan said the trip was a satisfying step on the road to creating elite rugby league pathways in “Eels Territory.”

“It’s very rewarding to see them come down and travel the distance they have to trial and be competitive as they have been,” Basan said.

“It’s probably testament to the work that the development and the coaching and recruitment departments have done, and the Institute of Sport as well: with Duncan McGilvray up there, the boys have really made some inroads.”

“We’ve identified some really good players here, and I’m sure the success will continue happen through the length of the partnership with the Northern Territory Government.”