Sport

Canberra Raiders want Redbank Plains talent

STRONG TIES: Redbank Plains High School League development co-ordinator Brendan Verrenkamp with principal Llew Paulger and year 10 coach Raymond Browning.
STRONG TIES: Redbank Plains High School League development co-ordinator Brendan Verrenkamp with principal Llew Paulger and year 10 coach Raymond Browning. Rob Williams

THE Canberra Raiders have become the latest team to try to tap into the rugby league nursery that is Ipswich.

Redbank Plains High School has become affiliated with the Raiders as they look to build long-term ties with the region.

RPHS league development program coordinator Brendan Verrenkamp said the NRL team saw huge potential in the school's program.

"Our principal (Llew Paulger) had a half-hour chat with their CEO Don Furner and coach David Furner, who said what they were looking for out of the affiliation," Verrenkamp said.

"They just see this school as an organic nursery for rugby league. They'll be sending a development officer into the school once a week. They flew three of us down to Canberra over the holidays, to check out their facilities, watch the NRL boys train and work with their high development coach."

The Raiders already have a Queensland Cup feeder team in the Souths Logan Magpies.

Verrenkamp said the affiliation would see the school teaching its players "Canberra Raiders style footy" from a young age.

"They've pretty much said 'here's our playbook' so the kids start to learn the style of footy the Raiders are looking for from an early age," he said.

"They want to get their hands on kids from as young as year eight.

"That way, by the time they're in year 11 or 12, they've been playing Raiders footy for five years.

"The idea is they'll know the style and how they want them to play. This isn't a short-term deal from either the school or the club, we both want this to last.

"It's a great opportunity for the kids and shows the regard our program and the players that come out of it are held in."

RPHS student Abraham Vakai is making the most of the deal, training with the Souths Logan Mal Meninga Cup team.

Topics:  canberra raiders nrl redbank plains high school souths logan magpies



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