The Sea Swift Northern Pride have introduced a new initiative for 2016 which will see more opportunities to play Intrust Super Cup offered to Cairns District Rugby League’s best talent.

Pride’s CDRL Portability Program will see one player from each CDRL club train fulltime with the Pride during the entire pre-season and in season every Tuesday night, only returning back to CDRL training for the rest of the week if they are not selected to play Intrust Super Cup.

The program means the Pride, who used 35 players in 2015, will contract a fulltime Intrust Super Cup squad of only 22 players, with players 23-34 being part of the new CDRL Portability Program.

The news follows this week’s other announcement that CDRL Gold Medal winner Colin Wilkie, a five-eighth from premiers Innisfail Leprechauns, has officially signed for 2016.

Pride head coach Joe O’Callaghan said with the CDRL Portability Program players are registered and signed only with their CDRL club, and will only go on to a fulltime contract with Pride once they play their first Intrust Super Cup game of the year.

“The most exciting thing about this program compared to previous years was if these players were signed with us, they were then sometimes allocated out to other CDRL clubs for numerous reasons,” O’Callaghan said.

“With the new portability program, if the player wants to take up the option of joining our club, they must first sign and stay with their previous CDRL club which has developed and brought them through the ranks.

“These players were picked because of those that I identified for positional reasons and through discussions with A Grade coaches, and in some instances clubs have used this 'carrot' to draw new players to their clubs.

“It also means that on any given weekend at least one player from the Northern Pride squad is represented in every CDRL team.

“I am quite passionate about this new program, and making sure we are a pathway club for young men from all over the region and all clubs in our great local competition.

“I cannot wait to see how these guys handle the jump into Intrust Super Cup level and put on healthy competition within our squad for spots.

“I want to make one thing clear – our 22 contracted players will not necessarily make up all our Round 1 named 17.

“Anyone in this 34 can push for spots, and best form will dictate who those early round teams are as our focus is not to have the same start we had in 2015 next season (0-4 after four rounds) – reputation will mean nothing as far as I am concerned.

“It’s exciting to see older players who still have the hunger for this level like Col Wilkie, and at the same time unknown young players like Shawn Bowen and Ned Blackman being exposed for the first time.”

Pride/CDRL Portability Program – 2016 players

Gold Medal Winner – Col Wilkie (Innisfail Leprechauns)
Atherton Roosters – Ned Blackman
Cairns Brothers – Ben Schell
Edmonton Storm – Daniel Tatipata
Innisfail Brothers – Fred Koraba
Ivanhoe Knights – Jared Verney
Kangaroos – Sam Pau
Mareeba Gladiators – Ian King
Mossman-Port Douglas Sharks – Shawn Bowen
Southern Suburbs – Jack Brock
Tully Tigers – Greg Miglio
Yarrabah Seahawks – Menmuny Murgha

Northern Pride officially start pre-season training today (November 2).