FINAL preparations are being made for Saints Academy’s Tour of Australia.
27 players and 10 staff will travel overseas next Sunday in a three week trip which will see them take on St George, Central Coast, Wests Tigers and Penrith as well gaining vital life experience.
They will be following in the footsteps of four other successful tours – which have them undefeated in all but one game – and more than 30 players who have gone on to play Super League.
They are a vital part of the players’ pathway as Mike Rush, Saints Chief Executive, explains: “This year we handed debuts to eight Academy products and a huge part of their development began when they went on tour to Australia.
“The likes of Jonny Lomax, Josh Jones, Tommy Makinson and Paul Clough have all toured and, like the players who have been selected to travel to Australia in 2013, will cherish the experience for the rest of their lives.
“They will be training in a full time environment and will get a glimpse of what it is like to be a full time professional. It won’t be easy, it will test their mental and physical toughness, but will continue their player pathway.
“Of the 2011 touring party, Greg Richards, Duggie Charnock, Luke Thompson, James Tilley and Mark Percival have all made their first team debuts this season, with 2009 tourists Anthony Walker, Joe Greenwood and Jordan Hand also making their first team debuts
“For those who don’t progress into the first team at Saints it will help them move forward in their future careers.
“The tour is also about making friends and contacts and learning from them. We will be meeting Daniel Anderson, Mick Potter and Royce Simmons this year and paying a visit to the Sydney Swans AFL side.
“The relationship we have with Penrith has seen them come to the UK and play games against us too.
“It is not only a vital part of the player’s but the club’s development too.”
Over the tours in 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2011 more than £460,000 has been raised by the players, parents and staff and this year the cost of the trip this year alone is £100,000.
October 13: Saints v St George
October 16: Saints v Central Coast
October 18: Official Team Photograph and Sydney Swans visit
October 20: Saints v Wests Tigers
October 26: Saints v Penrith
Daniel Abram, Philip Atherton, Ricky Bailey, Tom Calland, Liam Cooper, Jonah Cunningham, Oliver Davies, David Eccleston, Lewis Fairhurst, Matthew Fleming, Liam Forsyth, Lewis Hatton, Kieron Herbert, David Hewitt, Morgan Knowles, Ross McCauley, Joseph McLoughlin, Ben Morris, James Nicholl, Daniel Richardson, Joe Ryan, Adam Saunders, Aaron Smith, Connor Smith, Jake Spedding, Bobby Williams, Chris Worrall.
We will be introducing the players during the next few days so keep an eye on www.saintsrlfc.com