The Parramatta Eels have hosted three rugby league coaches from the Northern Territory Rugby League this week, as part of our continual partnership in the Northern Territory to grow the game.

The coaches, Scott Andrews, Troy Duncan and Corey Herewini along with two young players Ethan Andrews and Jaie Craven spent some time at the Blue & Gold, learning from the Eels coaching staff, learning from our development staff across the board and attending the Parramatta Eels District Representative Trials.

“We flew in yesterday, a busy day today obviously with the boys taking part in the Harold Matthews trial tonight and hopefully we can get both of the boys in,” Scott Andrews said.

“Being a Parramatta fan, it is a good opportunity for me but more so the boys. We just get to see how everything is working, and it’s been good for me but hopefully the boys get more out of it than I do.”

“When we were over at the training facilities the boys recognised a few of them, I don’t think they knew who Nathan Cayless was, but seeing them smile and getting some photos with the boys was good for them” Andrews added.

Andrews, who originally hails from Newcastle, New South Wales has been coaching in the NT for the last three years.

Currently coaching his Under 16s side, looking to go back to back champions in the upcoming year, Andrews says these opportunities are important in enforcing his coaching methods in the NT.

“I have been coaching for a long time now and played myself, but there is actually not much that we do differently, maybe just the way we use terms,” Andrews said.

“We obviously take a lot out of what they have told us today, but there is not much that I see that they do that we don’t do.”

“They are obviously a lot more high end and it’s easier to get their boys to do it, compared to my boys to do it, but I always take something out of these trips every time I come here or when the boys have come up to Darwin.” Andrews added.

“I just try and take it back to camp and give it back to my boys.”

After video and coaching sessions with Eels NYC Head Coach Luke Burt and Wentworthville Magpies Intrust Super Premiership NSW Head Coach Nathan Cayless, Andrews says he will take what he has learnt to try and instil it in his team and share the knowledge with other coaches in the NT.

“Just the line speed, it’s a simple game rugby league. Catch, pass, make your tackles and being clinical with the ball. I have tried to instil it in my teams and they are still instilling it in the NRL. There is a lot that I try to instil but my boys are only kids so I do have to take it that little bit easier,” Andrews said.

“It’s getting those fundamentals right at a young age. The thing I have found is that they don’t have those fundamentals so much in the NT now because it is not a big league area.” He added.

“You can see it coming through the ranks that it hasn’t been instilled so you try to instil it in the younger kids now and having Parramatta come out and do some camps and teach us coaches, being able to feed it back to other coaches has been beneficial.”

Undoubtedly coaches have benefited from the Eels’ presence in the Territory over the past few years, with a big focus on growing the game in areas where rugby league may not be the most popular sport, however Andrews said there was still continual work to do.

“I have noticed that the boys that do go into the Academy’s and camps have improved and are a lot better kids now, from those that are run in the NT with the NRL development officers, through the Eels programs and camps in Katherine with the NTIS. Teaching those kids does help but we need to get into the younger kids like the under eights and teaching them the fundamentals,” Andrews said.

“There is still work to do out there but there are positive signs. We had three kids picked to trial for the Harold Matthews this year which is a good sign.”

“I find in the NT, around the 14-16 year olds we start to lose them a little bit, which is probably the case everywhere, but my team used to only play in Katherine but for the first time we had to travel up to Darwin every weekend to play.” He added.

“So that opened a few boys eyes up that they were playing something a bit different. I would say it is getting bigger but there is still work to do.”