The next crop of up-and-coming talent was on Wednesday welcomed to the Sharks, as the Club hosted its annual Junior Representative induction night.
With the room filled with the Sharks’ Harold Matthews (U16) and SG Ball (U18) squads, Premiership winning Coach Shane Flanagan and Captain Paul Gallen addressed the room to make clear the opportunities that sit with the young talents.
“It’s great to see that our Junior Representative program and pathways are working,” Flanagan said.
“Players like Chad Townsend, Valentine Holmes & Nu Brown have all come through our system, and were all members of our Premiership winning squad.
“For me, it’s just about letting these young men know that First Grade isn’t that far away.”
Unlike Townsend, Holmes and Brown, Gallen was quick to note that he was not a member of the Club’s Junior Representative stocks, way back when.
But going on to be the first Captain to hoist the NRL Premiership trophy in Sharks colours, Gallen told the squads that it was his determination succeed at a young age that has seen him go on to be known as one of the game’s best.
“I didn’t come through the Sharks system, but I’ve played with those that have so I can definitely say there’s a good opportunity here for this group,” Gallen said.
“At that age it was about knuckling down and doing all I could. We got told at our induction night that only one, maybe two people max in the room would go on to play in the NRL.
“And it was kind of like our mantra heading into this year’s Grand Final – why not us. I thought then, why not me
“I debuted at 19 in the NRL, so I just wanted to let these boys know how close they could be to playing in the top grade.”