Dyldam Parramatta Eels utility Joseph Paulo recently spent part of the recent school holidays coaching at a rugby league clinic for young footballers who were looking to improve their rugby league skills.
The camp, Lions League, was founded by Paulo and two close friends, Nathan Campbell and Matthew Hartigan and the three, along with a handful of experienced coaches, hosted the inaugural two-day camp event in the school holidays of April 2015.
“Two of my good friends, Nate Campbell and Matthew Hartigan, we were sitting down 6 months ago about how we could give back to the game,” Paulo said of his involvement with Lions League.
“They are good PE teachers here at Patrician Brothers Blacktown and we thought it would be a good idea to run a camp for kids during the school holidays.
“When I was 12/13 I know what it was like of wanting to do something in the holidays so we came up with Lions League.”
The two-day camp held at Patrician Brothers Blacktown had over 50 registered footballers in attendance with the participants treated to rugby league skills and drills from a variety of experienced coaches.
“It is good to get out here in its inaugural event and see so many kids here,” Paulo said.
“We didn’t expect this many numbers on our first camp but we are glad with the turnout. It is our first day and it’s exciting times”
Co-founder Nathan Campbell was pleased with the inaugural camp and looked forward to continuing to give back to the game he grew up playing.
“As serious as we do come down on them to do the skills and drills that we are teaching, we want the kids to have a good time as well,” Campbell said of Lions League.
“The story behind the name Lions League is that the lion get up and chase their prey and we are using that as a metaphor for the kids to get up and chase their dreams and not be scared of doing something they are enjoying and love doing.”
With plenty of talented young footballers attending the camp, Paulo pinpointed two future stars; the sons of Eels Head Coach Brad Arthur.
“I have seen these two young fellas, who must be related to Brad Arthur,” Paulo said.
“They have been showing a lot of their talent in the skills so far but there are a lot of other talented kids out here,” he added.
“It’s funny because you try and do all these skills and drills and they just want to tackle. When we are training at first grade we just want to get out of the tackles!” Paulo joked.
Apart from the experienced coaches running the skills and drills, NRL players Tim Mannah, Richie Fa’aoso, John Folau, Matt Moylan, Blake Austin, Matthew Lodge and Eels Head Coach Brad Arthur were in attendance to mingle with the participants and participate in the running of drills.
For more information on Lions League and for more information on their upcoming school holiday camp, visit www.lionsleague.com.au