Our current crop of GRLA players – Jack Stevenson, Archie Andrade & Jordan Gray (all hailing from the Aberdeen Warriors RLFC and representing Scotland RL internationally at either U19 or Student level) – all recently took part in a fantastic training experience with Wigan Warriors U19 Academy, still one of the most iconic names in rugby league throughout the world! The lads were involved in a variety of sessions, including grappling/wrestling, gym sessions, conditioning and field-based sessions; they also got to be involved in video sessions, focusing on game analysis and game preparation. GRLA’s Jack Stevenson was mightily impressed with the standard of the sessions on offer with the Warriors; he said:
‘I really enjoyed my time training with the Wigan u19 academy. The sessions were very intense and I’ve learned a lot of new techniques from the wrestle sessions. It was also great to use their outstanding facilities such as the wrestle room and 4G pitch.’
This experience allowed the GRLA lads to experience an elite Super League Academy setup, providing them with an insight into what it takes to establish themselves as professional rugby league players. It also gave them the opportunity to compare how different club’s academy systems function – Jordan & Jack have also experienced Huddersfield Giants U19s, whilst Archie was on trial with Leeds Rhinos. When asked about his experience at Wigan, GRLA’s Archie Andrade alluded to this fact, saying:
‘I thought the experience with Wigan Warriors u19s has been very useful as it has shown me that certain academy teams train very differently from other so now that I have seen Wigan as well it gives me a clearer idea of what I should be aiming for this next year. It was also good to get some high quality training in’
The Wigan coaching staff were really pleased with the effort of the GRLA lads, and the GRLA programme’s aims in general. On the experience, Wigan Warriors U19s coach, Darrel Goulding, stated that:
‘We all feel the lads really tried hard and didn’t let themselves down in any way…Jack has plenty of routes open for him if he continues to build on his experience and develop. Archie I feel has great potential. If he continues to work hard I think somewhere will give him a chance and it will be up to him to grasp this.’
Regarding GRLA, Darrel said ‘I feel this is a great idea what you are doing and the more players we can get playing this great game of rugby league the better.’ We are extremely pleased that the Wigan staff feel this way and hope that GRLA can build on such experiences with them year-on-year.