GLOUCESTER rugby league prodigy Curtis Landers is continuing to improve his game and personal skills with the Canberra Raiders by participating in the club’s country recruits camp in January.
Curtis, 14, was the youngest player in the camp and competed alongside 16 other players aged from 16 to 17 years.
These players came from New Zealand, Brisbane, the south coast and western NSW.
The camp format tests the resolve and enthusiasm of players over four days. The timing of the camp also added another dimension with Canberra in the midst of a 40 degree heat wave.
Curtis was drilled in individual skills such as running correct lines, setting up shape, getting into contact and defensive and wrestling techniques.
Importantly for Curtis, a section of the camp dealt with positional skills specific to his role as a hooker and halfback.
The drills are something that he can take away and practice on his own to improve his game.
Additional instruction was given on situational game play and strategy.
New Raiders coach Ricky Stuart spent some time talking to the young group about decisions, choices and actions.
He reminded the players they were all in the camp because they had some identified ability.
Ricky went through some of the realities on game day to bring the elite level back into context.
While the NRL looks glitzy, with cameras everywhere, media, staring fans and massive stadiums, players put in a lot of hard work and self sacrifice.
At the end of the camp Curtis was given the opportunity to put everything he had learned into a game setting with the young country recruits taking on the Raiders under 18s SG Ball squad.
Most SG Ball players are typically 18 and between 95kg and 110kg and already have three years in the gym, but Curtis was not deterred.
A nervous Curtis showed strong defensive skills and provided good dummy half service to his team mates. Curtis will again be in contention for the Group 3 under 15s representative squad.
The Country Rugby League under 14s and 15s championships will be held in Port Macquarie later in the year.