Scouts on the look out at Secondary Schools League Nationals

By Ruth Smith

The second day of the National Secondary Schools Rugby League brought more action from our up and coming players, with crowds drawing in to watch the 2017 finals replay between Southern Cross and Kelston Boys High School. 

But there were some very special guests in the crowd today that were also attracting attention.

With so much promising talent on show, it's no wonder the scouts are out to take stock.

"We're just getting around and having a look at the local school tournaments in New Zealand today.  There's a bit of rugby on in town as well.  Just looking for kids that we can possibly recruit into our pathways programme back at the Newcastle Knights," says Troy Pezet, Recruitment Manager of the New Castle Knights.

Pezet is one of many scouts who have crossed the ditch to find the next big rugby league stars.

"We usually get to the Māori tournament early in the year and then we usually come for a couple of days during the school boys' tournament, and there for the nationals in October," he says.

The Knights have previously recruited some of Māori's finest young talent including back Kalyn Ponga and NRL All Star Shaun Kenny-Dowall.

"Everyone's coming here looking for the next Kalyn or Starford To'a.  It's a pretty exciting time for all these young boys.  There looking for what's going to get them on the next pathway when they finish their school.  So, it's a good opportunity for the clubs to come and have a look," Pezet says.

According to Pezet, competitions such as these are a breeding ground not only for future NRL stars but other codes of rugby too.

"I think it's really important for all these boys...The Warriors have a good pathway here for their local players but they can only have one team.  There's also all the rugby franchises as well around.  The good thing about New Zealand is that there is a lot of good quality athletes and everyone is looking for something different that suits their demographic," he says.

The competition continues with pool play over the next couple of days.