GRIFFITH High School is on the cutting edge of turning talented juniors into tomorrow’s rugby league superstars with yesterday’s launch of the Targeted Sports Program.
The scheme is designed to improve the students as people as well as players in the hope they can make the leap from the country to full-time playing careers.
Griffith High’s Shayne Vonbun said the program was a unique one for a regional area and closely mimicked the setup of a metropolitan sports high school.
“We’ll work on development of the basic rugby league skills, fitness, game play and tactics and there is also the academic side of it as well where we teach the kids about nutrition and lifestyle to get the best out of themselves,” Vonbun said.
“It’s definitely a first for the southern half of New South Wales or the Riverina area, CRL think it’s great and in relation to the schools in Griffith it’s unique as well that we’re offering kids the chance to do this.
“The vision for us is that we’ll run it in years 7 and 8 again and then look to expand it to 9 and 10 as well, but we want to provide the kids with the attitude, the skills and the commitment that city areas have.
“They already have that tough competition week-to-week and the great coaching and we want our kids to be on the same playing field.”
Periods are set aside every week for the students to work on their game, but there are also places for at-risk students, who Vonbun hoped could improve their academic skills under the influence of the scheme.
“We’ve got three to four places for at-risk students and the other sp,ts are there for kids who are not classified as at-risk.” he said. “So what we’re hoping is that the guys who are behaving around the school, they can have a positive influence on the three or four at-risk kids who are in the program.”
Country Rugby League, Griffith City Council and the Griffith Leagues Club have all backed the program which will give the students opportunities previously unheard of at local high schools.
An excursion to Melbourne is planned for later this year where they will visit the Melbourne Storm’s training facilities along with other sporting-based activities.