Endeavour Sports High School and the Cronulla Sharks have enjoyed a prolific player development relationship for well over 10 years.
And the association is proving stronger than ever, with Endeavour students and Sharks Jersey Flegg players Franklin Pele and Bronson Xerri named in the prestigious Australian Schoolboys side.
Though Xerri won't join Pele on the Schoolboys' tour of the United Kingdom in October – he will instead commence pre-season training for 2019 with the Cronulla NRL squad – the pair's selection is indicative of the immense talent emerging from Endeavour and the Sharks.
Aside from Pele, Xerri and many of their under-20s teammates, NRL squad members Kurt Dillon, Scott Sorensen, Billy Magoulias and Will Kennedy are also alumni of the Caringbah-based school.
Further strengthening the connection, Cronulla Jersey Flegg coach Dave Howlett heads Endeavour's rugby league Targeted Sports Program (TSP). Other Sharks junior representative staff are involved in both parties as well.
Returning from Tamworth on the Endeavour team bus on Wednesday – after his side snatched a comeback win over Farrer High School to advance to the University Shield semi-finals – Howlett phoned to praise the link between the school and the Cronulla club.
"We're really proud of the relationship we have with the Sharks. It's been an ongoing and strong relationship for well and truly over a decade now," said Howlett, who has been at Endeavour since 1998 and won a premiership as Sharks SG Ball coach in 2015.
"The two football programs [at the Sharks and Endeavour] definitely complement each other. There's the added advantage of managing the boys' workloads there, too."
While Endeavour is renowned across NSW as a breeding ground for upcoming rugby league stars, Howlett says the school focuses on moulding good people as well as good footballers.
"We work on improving the players as individuals and giving them a positive rugby league experience, but it's also about the development of them as young men and students," explained Howlett.
"We work just as hard on their character and their academics as we do on their footy."
The balance clearly works, evidenced by the astonishing number of top-quality NRL players Endeavour has recently produced.
Not including the aforementioned Sharks crop, current NRL guns like Blake Ferguson (Roosters), Joey Leilua (Raiders), Curtis Scott (Storm), Alex Johnston (Rabbitohs), Shaun Lane (Sea Eagles), Dean Whare (Panthers) Jamayne Isaako (Broncos) and Martin Taupau (Sea Eagles) are all Endeavour graduates.
Howlett thinks the school's penchant for producing high-calibre players is due to the tight-knit, hardworking, inclusive culture it possesses.
"The program itself makes their involvement with rugby league an enjoyable and positive experience. We pride ourselves on being a family, and that brings out a genuine love of the game and pride in the school," said Howlett.
"It just has that environment where likeminded boys that love their rugby league are all grouped together.
"That brings the best out of them in a footy sense and a school sense. That's the secret to it."
On Friday 31 August, Endeavour Sports High School will be holding trials for its rugby league TSP from 9am to 11am on the school oval.
The trials are for new applicants; students moving into year 7 in 2019 and students presently in years 7 to 10 can apply.
Thirteen other sports will also be hosting TSP trials during week six of term three, including rugby union, basketball, cricket, soccer and netball.
For more information or to register, call 9524 0615.
Below is the upcoming dates, times and venues for the Endeavour High sports trials. Call the number above for more information and before attending.