The NZ Warriors are being put through their paces in Tamworth in preparation for the upcoming NRL season, but the hard work still continues at Mt Smart Stadium.
A group of promising U-16 players from around the country are taking part in a two day camp and getting a taste of NRL life, as the club look to strengthen their development pathways for the next generation of stars.
Nurturing rising talent is a passion for Warriors development coach Tony Iro.
"I've been in and out of this role for a decade or so and I live this age group," Iro tells Newshub.
"I get a great deal of satisfaction watching a kid put on his NRL jersey."
But it's not just rugby league that Iro - along with Stacey Jones and Adam Blair - are teaching these youngsters, they're also preparing them for the off-field demands that come with being an NRL player.
"We've tried to cover the full gamut of what an NRL player will do in a busy day," says Iro. "They've had nutrition advice, sleep advice, welfare advice."
"Even though we're trying to teach them the footy skills to become NRL players, they're also learning skills that will help them if it doesn't quite work out for them."
For the Warriors, tapping into the abundance of talent across the country is crucial to their future.
"I think it's up to the club to reinforce its identity in our regional communities, and given the current world climate, there's not many other teams coming here at the moment."
And with Phil Gould on board to develop those pathways...the work starts now to lay the foundation.
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