Sharks youngsters Jayden Brailey, Jesse Ramien and Kyle Flanagan were amongst 39 of the state’s best rugby league up-and-comers to get a taste of how coach Brad Fittler expects the NSW Blues to perform while under his watch.
The trio attended the Emerging Blues camp on Saturday where they had a chance to listen and learn from incoming coach Fittler and from some of the greatest players to pull on a NSW jersey.
Brailey received tutelage from former Knight Danny Buderus, Jesse Ramien learnt some of the intricacies of backs play from Anthony Minichiello and Matt King, while Flanagan had the opportunity to take in the words of wisdom from NRL Immortal Andrew Johns.
Fittler opted for a legends-heavy approach, with several former Origin greats taking players through drills, before providing feedback then progressing to a recovery session and presentation.
“We've got some high-quality ex-players here so if they listen hard enough they'll find and take something out of today," Fittler said on the NSWRL website.
In addition to Johns, Buderus, Minichiello and King, Fittler also brought in Mark O'Meley, Craig Fitzgibbon and Paul Sironen to work with the forwards.
The players ran light drills on the training paddock, watched video on some of the best players in their positions and listened to Fittler’s motivational words and advice.
“It was very good,” Ramien said. “Freddy spoke about what it means to be an Origin player and what they expect from Origin players on and off the field.”
“We also watched some video and spoke about what NSW has done well and not so well in past. It was about how to play Origin footy,” Flanagan added.
The players then broke up into positional groups for some hands-on training with the NSW legends who had assembled on the day.
“I went with the hookers, Jacob Liddle from the Tigers, Michael Lichaa, Reece Robson from the Dragons. We watched video with Danny (Buderus) of guys like Cam Smith and Robbie Farah, we ran a few drills and did some basic skills on the field,” Brailey said.
Others in attendance at the camp included Angus Crichton from the Rabbitohs, Nathan Cleary from the Panthers and the Raider’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Nick Cotric.
"The pre-seasons are so intense for players now, so we appreciate the clubs allowing them to come out,” Fittler said. "Hopefully they can learn something about one of these old players.
Fittler also added it was important young players are educated on Origin culture, with the camps offering a perfect opportunity to have everyone on the same page.
"The important thing is the best Origin players are always the best club players. The best club players are the best trainers, so it's just about being teammates and working hard for each other.
"It's not as easy as it sounds, you turn up on a hot day like this having that same attitude. That's the thing you try to train them.
"If we can get them coming together with a similar mindset and being good at the small things that don't care to other people, that's important," Fittler said.
The three were back at club training today, with the Sharks continuing their pre-season preparations with a gym and field session in the morning, followed by defensive contact drills after lunch.