North Queensland Cowboys player Aaron Payne (right) puts Emmaus College student Jordan Saunders through his paces at a training camp on Saturday.
North Queensland Cowboys player Aaron Payne (right) puts Emmaus College student Jordan Saunders through his paces at a training camp on Saturday. MEGAN LEWIS Ml

Cowboys help local kids

MORE than 30 of Central Queensland’s top rugby league footballers had their skills brushed up on the weekend by NRL North Queensland Cowboys’ Steve Southern and Aaron Payne.

The two Cowboys tossed the ball around and coached the young locals as part of the Cowboys Top Gun Academy at Emmaus College on Saturday and Sunday.

It was a day full of coaching, guiding, testing and excitement for the kids, who not only had the rare opportunity to receive personal coaching from Southern and Payne, but also Cowboys assistant coach Matt Parish and football operations manager Peter Jones.

And it was a successful two-day camp with the participants, aged between 13 and 16, showing the big league their talent in the sport.

“It all went very well and we are happy with it all; the standard of the kids was very good overall,” Jones said.

“There were a couple of kids who impressed at a level that was very good.”

The children who participated were specifically chosen by the Cowboys as they were seen as potential players who could work their way up the rugby league ladder.

The program focused on skills, testing, speed, strength, endurance and flexibility, as well as encouragement from the Cowboys players.

“Southern and Payne got involved in the drills and the testing – the young fellows got a lot of out of the players interacting with them,” Jones said.

“The training was at a very good quality and skill level, and we tested their physical attributes and skill.”

The development program will continue in January 2010 for another two-day camp for the same participants but at a higher level.

“We will have the same kids next year and hopefully at the next camp we don’t have to back track, as we have already shown them these skills this weekend.

“We will be testing more and will put them on a 40-metre sprint to see their speeds.

“Hopefully we will also improve their skills to another level and introduce them to a few more plays.”

The camp was part of a North Queensland-wide academy blitz with other Cowboys players and coaches meeting for the same program in Mackay, Townsville and Cairns.



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