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Nero8282

Playing at a higher level

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Hi all.

I currently play for a team in one of the NCL leagues and am currently 19, 20 next week. Prior to that I played Union but thought the standard of rugby was higher in League over here so decided to give it a go. It’s become a bit of an obsession for me really and I’m really looking forward to getting started again. I’d really like to try and play at a level that is above where I’m at now in the future and my question is how you guys recommend I go about doing that at my age and is it even possible? Obviously it’s all down to hard work and being good enough but I was just curious as to what the best route might be. 
 

Thankyou

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I think first of all, work towards playing at the highest possible NCL standard. Watch as much RL as possible - if you're coming from union you probably won't have the same instincts so this is an easy option of getting more game sense. Are you at university? If so, look into the representative pathway (you have missed the boat for this year) as this is often a way to get noticed by semi-professional clubs.

On top of that, the weaker League 1 clubs usually hold open trials in October/November each year - keep an eye out for these. Additionally,, put a real emphasis on strength and conditioning as just being stronger and faster than people will get you noticed. 

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Thanks for the messages will take them all on board! How old do you guys think is the ‘cut off point’ for this to happen? I’m not sure I’m quite good enough to make that step up right now, say it takes me 2/3 years to get to that standard I’ll be 22/23 by that point. Are clubs in championship/league 1 going to be interested in unproven players at that age?

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57 minutes ago, Nero8282 said:

Thanks for the messages will take them all on board! How old do you guys think is the ‘cut off point’ for this to happen? I’m not sure I’m quite good enough to make that step up right now, say it takes me 2/3 years to get to that standard I’ll be 22/23 by that point. Are clubs in championship/league 1 going to be interested in unproven players at that age?

I don't think there is a cut off point, it just gets gradually. Lower League 1 clubs less so because the nature of the open trials is that being unproven doesn't matter too much if you turn up and look better than 'proven' players. Keighley and Halifax both run reserve teams so that could always be an option as presumably they recruit from the amateur game along with the student game. You aren't going to get straight from amateur to Championship though.

Your best bet would be spend this year at NCL, look to get signed by either a reserves team or a lower League 1 team at open trials, and if you tear it up that year see if you can move up. Easier said than done though!

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Hi Nero.All the very best in your quest to make it in rugby league. I'm sure you'll get there mate.

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1 hour ago, Nero8282 said:

Thanks for the messages will take them all on board! How old do you guys think is the ‘cut off point’ for this to happen? I’m not sure I’m quite good enough to make that step up right now, say it takes me 2/3 years to get to that standard I’ll be 22/23 by that point. Are clubs in championship/league 1 going to be interested in unproven players at that age?

I dont want to tell you the classic "believe in yourself, with hard work every doors will be opened" line, because it is ######. if you are good, you will be interesting.

You are targetting the pro Rugby League but right now you have not plaid league... and that is completely OK! you have ambition and obsession. that will be necessary. but as Saint answered, you need to get game time. depending on the position you want to play, there are many aspects to work on. i cant give you a better answer that Saint 1.. (coming from Union, I think we all here will recommend you to improve your pace.)

If I remember correctly there is a union player who joined the development center of the TO XIII this year, so it is certainly not impossible to do what you want to do.

oh and not to forget the U19 team from Toulon Rugby League in France who, coming from union (union rejects from Toulon RU, all of them, like 30 players) started playing league this season and are doing pretty well (3 victories, 4 losses)!!!

 

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Being more athletic than your opponent is a great start. At the lower levels a solid fitness and appropriate strength regime can make you stand out more easily than at the higher levels where everyone is working hard (they should be anyway) on their strength and fitness.

 

Edited by Copa
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5 hours ago, Nero8282 said:

Thanks for the messages will take them all on board! How old do you guys think is the ‘cut off point’ for this to happen? I’m not sure I’m quite good enough to make that step up right now, say it takes me 2/3 years to get to that standard I’ll be 22/23 by that point. Are clubs in championship/league 1 going to be interested in unproven players at that age?

I would say a number of NCL teams are stronger than a few League 1 teams, so transitioning between the two should not be an issue.  (Especially if you are flexible and willing to travel).

Good luck, and keep going!

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1 hour ago, Copa said:

Being more athletic than your opponent is a great start. At the lower levels a solid fitness and appropriate strength regime can make you stand out more easily than at the higher levels where everyone is working hard (they should be anyway) on their strength and fitness.

 

I should also say I was thinking this, but did not want to post it as it may have provoked some argument, and got away from the point of the thread.

I absolutely agree with Copa.  Get as big, strong, fast and agile as you can.  

You only need to look at what kids stand out at youth level - the biggest and most athletic.

Which players are pulled up from Championship to Super League? - Normally young-ish ones with good size and speed.

Who does union look at poaching from League? Speedy wingers (Solomona, Charnley, Tomane, Radrada, Duffie) and Big strong ball carriers with good physique (Burgess, Thornley, Burrell, Te'o)

There is definitely a perception that good athletes can transition to a higher level better than other players.

Again, all the best.

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Just focus on one game at a time for now, work hard in training and improve your rugby league knowledge. The rest will fall into place! Good luck!

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Thanks for all your replies. I play 9 and really want to improve my kicking game and my distribution - we only have two sessions at most on the field though. To get to the levels I’ve been spoken about here I’m probably gonna need more than that so is it just a case of going to a field on my own and working on it?

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1 minute ago, Nero8282 said:

Thanks for all your replies. I play 9 and really want to improve my kicking game and my distribution - we only have two sessions at most on the field though. To get to the levels I’ve been spoken about here I’m probably gonna need more than that so is it just a case of going to a field on my own and working on it?

Probably.  I used to do that all the time when I was in my teens.  Training alone is perfect for practicing bombs, because you can work on your kicking and catching at the same time.  I was lucky too as the field near me had a grass hill at one end, so I could practice long distance kicks without having to do too much fetching, as it would roll back towards me.  Find something similar near you and you'll be set!

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On 3/6/2018 at 10:12 AM, Nero8282 said:

Hi all.

I currently play for a team in one of the NCL leagues and am currently 19, 20 next week. Prior to that I played Union but thought the standard of rugby was higher in League over here so decided to give it a go. It’s become a bit of an obsession for me really and I’m really looking forward to getting started again. I’d really like to try and play at a level that is above where I’m at now in the future and my question is how you guys recommend I go about doing that at my age and is it even possible? Obviously it’s all down to hard work and being good enough but I was just curious as to what the best route might be. 
 

Thankyou

Fitness is a huge part of rugby league. Work on getting fitter and stronger,  and also work on your pace. Practice your handling skills and passing. Depending on your position also work hard on agility. 

In terms of getting a club NCL is a really decent standard. Some. League 1 clubs hold open trials or will allow player to come train with them. Coventry Bears have signed a few players that way this year. Alot of clubs sign players on reputation, going on a trial or training with a club allows you to show what you can do. 

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Hi Nero, it seems you have the determination, which is just as important as ability. If you improve over the next couple of years to be good enough to play at the top end of NCL1 or Premier you are half way there if your ambition is to play at a professional level. This is simply because there are oodles of players good enough for the lower half of Betfred League 1 but would rather play for their local amateur club. Many have tried it but have lacked the resolve to keep at it when not getting picked on a regular basis, but there is a lot of luck attached to it.

One good recent example to keep an eye on is Gareth Gale of Featherstone Lions.

Last season Featherstone Rovers gave trials to fellow centre Josh Hardcastle. He did well and because Misi Taulapapa had visa problems he found himself playing and scoring in his first competitive game. By the time Taulapapa's vis came through Hardcastle had played in virtually every game and was a mainstay of the side, ending up as the leading try scorer at the end of the season, in a Championship Top 4 side.

In the pre-season Fev gave trials to Gareth Gale, who scored a scorcher in the Boxing Day friendly against Castleford and was duly offered a contract which he signed. But when the season started Fev had a very strong which kept winning and Gale didn't get the same opportunity as Hardcastle. As Fev don't have a reserve side he was offered out on loan to Hunslet but didn't want to play for anyone else but Fev so asked for his contract to be terminated so he could go back to play for Fev Lions. If that had been you I suspect that you would have jumped at the chance of getting more opportunities at Hunslet? Gareth also cited work and personal reasons for terminating his contract, but I have no doubt he would have been a success in League 1, which is further away from where Fev are than they are from the bottom reaches of Super League. The pay is not too good too, so if you can improve to that level the rest would be down to determination as much as ability. Oh! and good luck with injuries. If you can reach the required standard by your mid twenties some clubs would take you on for a trial, with freedom of contract very few of them nurture their own talent any more.

Edited by Steve Slater
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