In all it was about 140 Sharks players of all ages, shapes and sizes, coming together as one for a Club Training Session.
Instigated by Sharks head coach Shane Flanagan, the session features players from the Under 16 Matthews Cup, the Under 18 SG Ball, Holden Cup Under 20’s and the Sharks NRL squad training on the same field, running the same drills, all at the same time.
As Flanagan explained, it was a more that worthwhile exercise for all concerned.
“It’s a great opportunity for a Matthews Cup or SG Ball kid to train alongside the NRL players they look up to and watch on television. They can go home and tell their parent and friends they training alongside a Ben Barba, or a Wade Graham, Andrew Fifita. It’s something regardless of the level they reach in the game that they’ll never forget,” Flanagan said.
“And the NRL boys really get involved. They end up doing most of the coaching themselves with the young boys in their groups.”
Split into groups which included a sprinkling of players from each of the four Sharks teams, the end result was NRL squad members participating in drills alongside 15 year-old Matthews Cup players, as well as members of the SG Ball and NCY squads.
Flanagan and his assistants Steve Price, James Shepherd and the recently retired John Morris, now a part of the clubs Elite Development coaching staff, along with SG Ball coach Dave Howlett, coached the various groups at the different skill stations.
Performance Manager Andrew Gray also put the squad through some conditioning drills, providing an indication that the training exercise was all about substance with all concerned gaining something from the session.
The Club Training Session was the second of its kind with Flanagan as Sharks head coach, with another session scheduled for a time which fits with the training and game commitments of the various teams.