NORTHERN Pride’s much heralded James Cook University Academy squads returned to training this week with high anticipation ahead of the 2013 season.
The Under 18 and Under 16 squads joined up in Cairns for the first time to start pre-season, with new faces ready to lead each squad.
Cameron Miller replaces Ben Rauter as Under 18 coach, with Rauter moving to a first-team assistant coach role under current Pride head coach Jason Demetriou.
Miller, who was assistant coach to Pride head coaches Andrew Dunemann and Dave Maiden from 2009-2011, said it was a great honour to coach the club’s hottest young talent.
“These youngsters are blessed with such talent and skill,” Miller said.
“I’m confident my hard work ethic will filter down to the Under 18s, and I hope to give them every opportunity to succeed at the highest level.
“I’m very excited about the new structures put into place, and I’m very confident we will have a very successful season and see more players progress through to Intrust Super Cup and NRL systems.
“The first training session was very demanding, but all players put in a big effort and have set a hard working culture to achieve high expectations.”
Northern Pride recently announced a partnership with James Cook University, with the two local organisations joining forces to inspire Far North Queenslanders to use educational opportunities to achieve their personal best.
And Miller said the Academy, which has produced several players who have gone on to representative honours and NRL careers, had never been in better shape.
“The Academy structure and professionalism is set up so well, we leave no stone unturned to achieve results not only on the field, but also off the field to develop these guys into good young men and leaders in their communities,” he said.
Miller, who also works as a QRL Development Officer for the region, said he hoped being coach would be a stepping stone towards his own future in coaching.
His Under 18 assistant coaches will be Edmonton junior rugby league’s Robbie O’Kane, and Southern Suburbs’ Greg Annison.
Meanwhile, Cairns Brothers Junior Rugby League Coaching Director Paul Callaghan has been named as the new coach of the Under 16 Academy side.
Callaghan will be assisted by foundation North Queensland Cowboys player Stephen Tillett, who is also involved with Kangaroos junior rugby league and Alby Anderson, current CDJRL Coaching Director.