Action from the Dyldam Parramatta Eels’ annual Apprentice Camp in Parramatta

This December, Territory athletes Rodney Baird and William Nugraha joined eight other young rugby league players at the Dyldam Parramatta Eels’ annual Apprentice Camp in Parramatta.

Nugraha and Baird joined the Eels pathways from the Northern Territory after being identified by the Eels, the Northern Territory National Rugby League and the Northern Territory Institute of Sport.

Both are working with the club’s guidance while remaining in their family homes in Darwin, as the Blue and Gold and the Northern Territory Government focus on growing the game of rugby league and creating elite pathways for talented young Territory footballers.

Click through to see Rodney Baird and William Nugraha’s visit to Eels training in Darwin

The Apprentice Camp brings together talented youngsters for a six-day camp, including specialised skill and speed training, weights technique and education and welfare workshops including social media and the responsibilities and roles for young rugby league players.

The week also includes training with the Eels’ District Representative teams throughout the week and culminates with the Parramatta District Representative trials - this year against the Wests Magpies - giving the ‘Apprentices’ the chance to test themselves against the best other Sydney clubs have to offer.

The Blue and Gold work consistently throughout each year with a number of players around Australia to support their training and progress while still allowing them to live with their families in their home towns or states.

Apprentice Camp is one of the initiatives that allows young players the opportunity to also work with key staff in the fields of skills, conditioning and strength over an intensive week-long program during their school holidays, and experience the “big smoke” with trips to Parramatta CBD, a rivercat cruise and an afternoon in the Sydney CBD.

This year, the Apprentice Camp squad also had the opportunity to hit the field at the same time as the NRL squad at the Old Saleyards training fields, and made a special visit to the Ronald McDonald House at Westmead to meet the families and staff and help prepare for the annual House Christmas party.