CQ Capras link with NRL club
RUGBY LEAGUE: The Rockhampton Leagues Club Capras are set to formalise their relationship with NRL club, the Penrith Panthers, by signing an MOU hopefully within the next month.
While the alliance will not create the traditional feeder club scenario, it will provide a direct pathway for Central Queensland talent to Australia's premier rugby league competition.
Capras' chairman Bert Borland explained that the two clubs had already been working together, with Capras' first-grade coach Kim Williams implementing the same high-performance program used by the NRL club.
The club's directors had also toured Penrith's centre of excellence and been given a detailed explanation on the technology and systems behind it.
"We've been through their centre of excellence which is the absolute stand-out centre of excellence in any of the NRL clubs. It's the model that the other NRL clubs are now chasing,” Borland said.
"That has been completely shared with us. The coaching staff here have access to all the high-performance information that we need and that's a huge thing for us.
"That's how we're going to partner with the Panthers. It won't be an affiliation - we won't have players coming back from there, that won't happen - but we certainly have the ability to provide train and trial.
"If you're a young player and you've signed with us and you're good enough and coach Kim Williams thinks you're good enough there's a chance for you to go down and train with Penrith and see what it's like on the big stage.”
Newly appointed Capras' CEO Peter White likened the arrangement to building a house.
He said the plan was for local academies, under the guidance of head coach Williams, to be located in Bundaberg, Gladstone, Rockhampton and Emerald.
"You've got to start at the bottom and that's what it's about - getting the foundations right and creating a program that will see our kids, and there's going to be over 500 of them involved across our region, getting the same information that the kid does in Penrith,” he said.