Positive start to Blacktown partnership

Off and running...Blacktown players Jerry Key (front) and Charlie Faingaa have been travelling down to Narrabeen to train with the Sea Eagles NRL squad. 

The exciting partnership between the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles and the Blacktown Workers is off to a positive start with three contracted Blacktown players already training with the NRL squad over summer.

The partnership, officially approved on November 25, last Friday by the NSWRL Board, provides a pathway for Blacktown players into the NRL as a feeder club for the Sea Eagles. 

The ‘Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles’ will field teams in all three NSWRL senior competitions - Sydney Shield, Ron Massey and Intrust Super Premiership NSW, in 2017.

The H.E. Laybutt Field at the Blacktown Workers Club is the home ground.

Pat Weisner, who coached the Blacktown Workers Ron Massey Cup side this year, will coach the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles in the Intrust Super Premiership.

Contracted Blacktown Workers players Jerry Key, Tom Amone, and Charlie Faingaa have been travelling down to Narrabeen to train with the Sea Eagles NRL squad during the pre-season. Keys played for Manly in the Intrust Super Premiership this season.

Sea Eagles Head Coach Trent Barrett has been working with Weisner on the style of coaching structures to be used.

“Pat has been really good. He has been getting down to as many sessions as he can at Narrabeen,’’ Barrett said.

“The systems we are using in first grade will go through Blacktown and their grades, and down to our NYC team and into our junior reps.

“It gives the Blacktown players something to aspire to and that there is a pathway to the NRL through Manly now.

“For players like Jerry, Charlie, and Tom, it has already been a bit of an eye opener. They can see where they are at in terms of their fitness, strength and skill level compared to the NRL players.

“Whilst it is an opportunity for them, it is also good for Manly when we are a bit thin on numbers with injuries or we have blokes still returning from surgery.”

Weisner said the partnership allows Manly to tap into the enormous pool of talented rugby league players in the Blacktown region.

“We have got a lot of good kids out west. Manly can supplement the local talent out here and help make the Sea Eagles stronger,’’ Weisner said.

“That’s the key to it. The opportunities now for guys out west to join Manly is awesome.”

The Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles will have their first trial match against the Illawarra Steelers on Saturday, February 4, at WIN Stadium, before tackling North Sydney Bears at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on February 11.

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