Marmin Barba (front row second from right) with Mackay High Rugby League Academy district champions 2007
MARMIN BARBA HAPPY TO LEAVE SYDNEY Story & Photo By : Charlie Payne
THE big smoke of Sydney was too much for talented young half Marmin Barba, so he's swapped it for the glitz of the Gold Coast.
Barba, 21, the younger brother of 2012 Dally M Medal winner, Bulldogs fullback Ben Barba, yesterday signed a two-year deal with the Titans which he hopes will lead to an NRL career.
"I just didn't like living there (Sydney), it was too much for me," Barba said after his first training session on the Gold Coast.Cha
"It was too far from home. Now I'm back in Queensland closer to home.
"I've been here for two weeks now and I'm enjoying it.
"I'm just loving it here. Sydney was not for me, it's too far away from home."
Barba was playing in the Eels' Toyota Cup side and had a stint training with the NRL squad when he suffered an ACL knee injury in round two last season, ending his football for the year.
"The knee is really good now. They've still got to do a bit of work on it. I'll take it step by step."
Initially, Barba will play in the Intrust Super Cup with feeder club Burleigh Bears, and could have a homecoming at Virgin Australia Stadium for round 19 on July 27-28 against the STM Mackay Cutters.
He plays in the halves or fullback, and although he'd love the chance to one day play against his brother Ben in the NRL, knows he has to do his apprenticeship first.
"We'll see how we go, I've got to play some good football first with Burleigh and get asked (to play NRL)."
Titans chief executive David May said the addition of Barba would add further depth to the playing squad. "Marmin is a real prospect, he's obviously got a great pedigree and by all accounts is one of the bright young future stars."
NRL BOUND: Souths teammates Kyle Krisanski-Kennedy, left, and Jacob Gagai are on their first steps towards the NRL.
mates on way to nrl Story & Photo By : Charlie Payne
TWO long-time Mackay footy mates are living their dream of playing rugby league at the highest level.
Young Souths teammates Jacob Gagai and Kyle Krisanski-Kennedy, both 17, this week started training at the NRL's lowest rung, the NSW Jersey Flegg U18 competition, for their clubs Newcastle Knights and Canterbury Bulldogs.
Gagai, a five-eighth, started training at Newcastle on Monday after linking up with his older brother Dane, who is a centre for the NRL side, while fullback Krisanski-Kennedy has been at the Bulldogs headquarters at Belmore in Sydney for just over a week.
"I started training last Wednesday, we're training Monday to Friday," Krisanski-Kennedy said yesterday.
"It's good. It's hard but good. They push you a bit more, I'm doing a lot more running than I'm used to.
"I'm just loving it here."
Krisanski-Kennedy said both he and Gagai started with Souths under-7s and had been teammates since. They also played in the Mackay State High School rugby league academy through their senior schooling.
"We're good mates," he said.
"We've never played against each other in an opposing team. It'll be interesting to see what happens when we match up in the Jersey Flegg."
Gagai said he was excited to be a part of the NRL club and living with his brother, who joined the Knights last season from the Broncos.
Dane Gagai, along with another ex-Mackay player Neville Costigan, will line up for the Knights against Bulldogs in the round 17 NRL clash at Virgin Australia Stadium on July 7.
"My first training was really good," Jacob Gagai said.
"We'll be training Monday, Wednesday and Friday to start and it will build up from there.
"I talked to Kyle the other day, we'll probably catch up with each other in Sydney this weekend."
WARMING UP: Former English player George Marchant is adjusting to some hot training with the Ipswich Jets. David Nielsen
Exchange student George Marchant on the charge for the Mackay High Rugby League Academy at the Broncos Country Cup, Burleigh Heads 2009
ENGLISH IMPORT TACKLING TASK Story & Photo By : Jay Buchan
IF ANYONE could be forgiven for finding the Jets' pre-season training tough, it is George Marchant.
Having just arrived from Northern England, the near-40 degree heat at Jets' training laid several low. But not Marchant.
"I'm loving it," the nephew of former Great Britain centre Tony Marchant said in his thick Yorkshire accent.
"It's a massive change in temperature. At this time of year at home, I've been charging up freezing snow-covered hills.
"Now I'm training in over 30 degrees. It's a massive shock to the system."
But it is a mark of the sort of bloke and footballer Marchant is that, knowing he was coming to Queensland, he made sure he was prepared.
"I put in a bit of hard graft so I'd be in good shape," the 19-year-old backrower said.
"I like lots of sprinting with quick turnarounds and a bit of wrestling. I'm enjoying that."
Marchant was captain of the Bradford Academy under-18s this year and played several games in the under-20s, which is roughly the equivalent of the NRL's Toyota Cup competition.
"The 20s is a lot quicker and bit different to over here," he said.
"Some of the first team players, when they're coming back from injury or trying to find form, will drop down to play 20s. So you're playing against Super League competition some of the time."
His credentials indicate Marchant might challenge for the Queensland Cup squad in 2013.
However, he is starting with the colts and is happy to do so.
Marchant is in no rush to reach the heights to which he aspires, having taken inspiration from Kangaroos legend Petero Civoniceva.
"I'm reading Petero's book, which makes sense to me," Marchant said.
"He didn't make it when he was 21 or 22 in the Brisbane comp.
"It took time for his body to develop so for me it's a matter of when my body reaches its peak."
In the meantime, Marchant's focus is his personal improvement.
"I just want to play at the best level I know I'm capable," he said.
"It would be a bad mindset to think I couldn't play at the highest level.
"But I understand how the Walker brothers coach and I abide by what they say.
"So I'm happy to start in colts."
Having had a taste of life in Queensland before, Marchant was always going to return.
On finishing high school in 2010, Marchant took the opportunity to spend a season in Mackay.
"I fell in love with Australia," he said. "The people and the way of life.
"I had to return to England to study and I had a contract with the Bradford Bulls. But I knew when I was 19 and my contract was over and my studies finished, I might have the opportunity to come back.
"So when the opportunity arose, I jumped at it."
Thanks to the support of the Jets management, Marchant chose Ipswich as his destination.
He is grateful to Jets chairman Steve Johnson and chief executive Brad Wolens for making it happen.
"Steve Johnson helped convince my mum and dad by finding me a place to stay (at the Ipswich University campus)," Marchant said.
"Brad Wolens was a massive help getting everything sorted."
Height: 182cm. Weight: 93kg. Favourite player: I worshipped my uncle (Tony) and Malcolm Reilly from the stories I'd heard about how hard he was. Biggest influence: My mum and dad. Best advice: You get what you deserve if you're willing to put in the effort.
Who would you most like to get stuck in an elevator with: Chuck Liddell. I'm into UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) so it would be good to learn about his experiences. Hobbies: Music and taking the chance to see the local area. Favourite music: Foo Fighters, hip-hop.
Ipswich Queensland Times
Friday 9th November 2012
YOUNG TALENT: Broncos players Matt Gillett, left, and Ben Hennant caught up with scholarship holders Kalyn Ponga and Ashton Windsor. Charlie Payne
MACKAY PLAYERS IMPRESS BRONCOS Story & Photo By : Charlie Payne
THE Brisbane Broncos are impressed by the footballing talent coming out of Mackay.
Broncos front rower Ben Hannant and back rower Matt Gillett worked with young players at Victoria Park State School and Mackay State High School during a visit which will also take in Moranbah this weekend.
Their audience included four Mackay High players with NRL club scholarships - Ashton Windsor (Storm), Kalyn Ponga (Broncos), Kellen Jenner (Cowboys) and John O'Brien (Broncos talent identification).
Ponga, a fullback for Souths U15, said he was planning to go down to Brisbane next year, after signing a two-year scholarship with the Broncos.
"I've been to training sessions down at Red Hill and I get some gear from them," he said.
"I've seen the Broncos in training, but I haven't actually been training with them.
"I'm keen to keep working hard and see where it leads."
Windsor said he had been down to Brisbane for trials and training with the Storm, and would attend an annual camp at Melbourne in December for a week.
A centre or winger, he plays for Norths U15.
"Their recruitment manager picked me up when I was attending a carnival," Windsor said.
"I'm happy, they're the best club out."
Both players are members of the school's rugby league academy.
Broncos development officer, former player Michael Devere, said young players keen to make a career of the NRL needed several attributes.
"They've got to be good players with a good attitude and work ethic," he said.
"It's not always natural ability that gets you there.
"If you work hard and have the commitment needed, and you've got the talent as well, if you put that all together you've got the next Darren Lockyer."
About 100 members of the school's rugby league academy ran through drills with the NRL players.
The school is planning the academy's fourth visit to England next year, involving about 20 players.
Mackay State High School District Champions
Mackay State High School's Englaish exchange students
GAGAI STEERS MACKAY TO FINAL WIN Story & Photo By :
RISING young Broncos scholarship player Jacob Gagai starred as Mackay State High School got up by two points over St Patrick's College in the Terry Hayes Shield open schoolboys final at Virgin Australia Stadium.
Gagai, whose brother Dane is with NRL club Newcastle Knights, steered Mackay High to a 12-4 lead at half-time, and held on to win despite St Patrick's coming back with two tries to one in the second half.
The five-eighth scored two tries and with captain Kyle Kennedy was in everything in a high-standard match.
"He's very talented on the football field," coach Nathan Doyle said.
"It doesn't matter how competitive the game is, it's still like he's so relaxed like he's playing in the back yard. That's a great attribute to have."
After Mackay High withstood a concerted St Patrick's attack, Gagai scored the first try and then created the second by Matthew Burman through a chip and chase.
St Patrick's Cowboys scholarship player Scott Schulte scored a 50m try for St Pat's to come back to 10-6 at half time, but Gagai put Mackay High further ahead with a second try on the first set after the break to lead 16-6.
After a leg injury to Kennedy St Patrick's scored tries by centre Damien Vander Berg and winger Cameron Stuart through kicks to set up an exciting finish.
Prop Ross Bella and second-rower Harry Fitzgerald were among St Pat's best.
The match was the last for Mackay's contingent of visiting English players, who are leaving Australia this week.
Will Carlos and Danny Lidbury were among the best for the English players.
A group of Mackay players will visit England next September.
Fullback Harry Green scored a try in golden point time to give Mercy College its first win in 10 years in the Year 8 Mick Shew Shield.
Green's winning try was the second for the man of the match as Mercy College won 20-16 over MSHS.
Mercy College also took out the under-15 Booker Primrose Shield for the first time in 11 years, beating MSHS 12-8. Fullback Terry Budby was man of the match.
Team manager Scott McSherry said Mercy College had been undertaking a rugby league program for four years, and had combined with St Patrick's for the past two years.
Wednesday 15 th August 2012
Kalyn Ponga of the Mackay State High School No2 team takes the ball up as Joel Hicks, left, and Archie Pontanes move up in defence.
SCHOOLS COLLIDE Story & Photo By :
THE showdown of the schools at Virgin Australia Stadium tomorrow will feature another generation of budding NRL stars.
THE showdown of the schools at Virgin Australia Stadium tomorrow will feature another generation of budding NRL stars.
St Patrick's College and Mackay State High School play off in the open schoolboys' final, the Terry Hayes Shield, while Mackay High and Mercy College feature in the under-13 and 15 finals.
All schools feature players with the potential to go all the way to the NRL, including St Patrick's Cowboys scholarship holders Ross Bella and his cousin Scott Schulte.
Bella, a Year 11 student who is the son of former NRL and Queensland State of Origin forward Martin Bella, was player of the carnival for St Patrick's in the Confraternity Shield.
Schulte plans to move to Townsville for university next year, when he will be a part of the Cowboys programs.
Second-rower Jarrod Morris and five-eighth Rhys McBride, both 17, were part of the Mackay Cutters' U19 squad this year.
Team manager Ashley Montgomery said the students were inspired by current NRL stars Ben Barba and Daly Cherry-Evans, who both played for St Pat's in the 2006 Confraternity Shield.
"Our players have been talking to them by Skype, asking them questions about the NRL and getting their tips and advice," Montgomery said.
"Over the years, our two schools have produced some very good players and if you look at the squads this year it's the same story."
He said the two schools, which both feature rugby league programs, had been fierce rivals.
"Over the years we've had some tough battles," he said.
"We won the shield last year for the first time in a few years, and we're keen to win again."
Dad Brett and son Kyle Krisanski-Kennedy who has signed a three-year deal with the Bulldogs. (Photo : Michael Warren)
BULLDOGS SIGN MACKAY TEENAGER
Story & Photo By : Michael Warren
A MACKAY teenager is following in the footsteps of Bulldogs sensation Ben Barba.
A MACKAY teenager is following in the footsteps of Bulldogs sensation Ben Barba.
Souths' junior rugby league player Kyle Krisanski-Kennedy has signed for the same NRL club as former Mackay player Barba.
Krisanski-Kennedy will move to Sydney at the end of the year. He has signed a three-year deal with the Canterbury Bulldogs.
His signing comes after being identified playing for Capricornia last month at the under-18s four-day rugby league cup championships in Maroochydore by expert talent scout Noel Cleal.
Krisanski-Kennedy, 17, a fullback or halfback was man of the match in his side's second game.
It was his performance in that match, his father Brett said, which sealed the Bulldogs signing for the emerging player.
"At the championships Noel approached Gavin Orr, Kyle's player manager and signalled some interest then," he said.
"It wasn't until when the Storm played the Bulldogs here in Mackay a few weeks ago that we chatted with Noel and he said the Bulldogs were interested in signing Kyle."
The year 12 Mackay State high school student said he had always wanted to play a higher level of rugby league. "It feels awesome to be signed," he said.
"I never dreamt it would happen."
Krisanski-Kennedy will initially play SG Ball, an under-18s competition before moving up to the Toyota Cup under-20s.
Krisanski-Kennedy noted Mackay High School's renowned rugby league academy had developed his overall game.
"Both Nathan Doyle and Bill Esau (academy leaders) have both been fantastic and really helpful to me," he said.
Kyle will again meet with the Bulldogs later in the year to learn more about his initial commitments with the club and its plans for him over the next 12 months.
Three-year deal with NRL club, the Bulldogs
Moves to Sydney at year's end
A fullback or halfback
4th July 2012
Kalyn Ponga has been selected for the Australian under-15 merit side. (Photo : Lee Constable)
KALYN PICKED FOR AUSTRALIAN SIDE
GIFTED Mackay junior player Kalyn Ponga has been picked as a winger in the Australian under-15 rugby league merit side.
GIFTED Mackay junior player Kalyn Ponga has been picked as a winger in the Australian under-15 rugby league merit side after a number of superb performances for Queensland Maroon at the national age championships in Darwin.
Ponga, 14, is the first player of that age to picked in the under-15 Australian merit side since 2005.
He said being picked for Queensland, let alone Australia, was something he never expected.
"It's always been a dream of mine to be picked for Queensland," he said.
"My goal was just to be consistent during the championships and to see what happened, so being picked for Australia is a bonus."
Ponga, normally a fullback, played on the wing in his side's opening 28-22 loss to NSWCCC in the secondary schools championship, before switching back to his preferred position for the remainder of the carnival.
Queensland Maroon then had a 20-10 loss to NSWCHS on day three and following an 18-all draw with the same side two days later Ponga was awarded best on ground.
Those results helped Queensland Maroon to a championship showdown with NSWCCC on day six of the carnival, where Ponga's side was beaten in the decider 41-32.
Ponga's selection in the Australian merit side caps a stellar few months for the emerging Mackay State High School player, who was picked last month in the Queensland under-15 touch football team.
Ponga's rugby league talents have not gone unnoticed, with the Souths junior already in the Mackay High rugby league academy, which will tour England next year.
Ponga is also a Brisbane Broncos scholarship holder. He said he had been able to juggle his school commitments with his rugby league duties.
"It can be hard sometimes to do both but I just do the best I can to give equal attention to both."
May 17 2012
Jye Del Simone, Kalyn Ponga and Kellen Jenner will line up for Queensland at the under-15 national schoolboys rugby league championships in Darwin. (Photo : Tony Martin)
MACKAY'S STARS ON RISE
THREE Mackay rugby league players have been named in the Queensland squad to compete at the national under-15 schoolboys championship at Darwin next month.
THE next generation of Mackay rugby league stars is coming through with three players named in the Queensland squad to compete at the national under-15 schoolboys championship at Darwin next month.
Kellen Jenner and Jye Del Simone, both 15, and Kalyn Ponga, 14, were selected after playing for Capricornia, which finished third in the recent state titles at Toowoomba.
All three already have attracted interest from NRL clubs, including the Broncos and Cowboys and the CQ Bid, which is seeking to establish a NRL club at Rockhampton.
Jenner and Ponga play for Mackay State High School in the local schoolboys' competition while Del Simone attends Mercy College.
Jenner, a lock or second rower, was signed on a Cowboys scholarship at the age of 13 and attends the NRL club's Top Gun sessions for talent identified players at Mackay.
"Hopefully one day I'll get up there," he said.
He's been playing since he was seven, first with Wests and now with Brothers.
Ponga, a fullback, was one of only two 14-year-olds playing for Capricornia at the state titles.
He has a Broncos scholarship and also has attracted interest from the CQ Bid.
He's been playing for about two years, encouraged by his dad Andre who played in New Zealand.
"Dad said for me to try fullback because it's easy," he laughed.
Del Simone, a centre, said he had been talking with the Broncos and in September would attend a training camp with the Broncos junior representative side.
All three agree: Queensland will win Origin.
Sunday 25th September 2011
Jake Pinyon runs with purpose against Kelvin Hall School (Photo : Mackay SHS RL Academy)
Mackay SHS v's Kelvin Hall School in Hull
MSHS v's Archbishop Sentamu Academy at Hull KR Stadium
MACKAY ON HIGH AFTER UK TOUR Story & Photo's By : MSHS Bill ESAU
Mackay High’s 2011 England Tour games have finished off with a couple of good victories for the touring team.
Our final game was an excellent hit out against Kelvin Hall School in Hull who provided some stiff opposition but encountered a match hardened team that has finally started playing with an understanding of local conditions and refereeing interpretations.
That victory gave the team two wins on the trot after another hard fought success against Archbishop Sentamu Academy earlier in the week.
There have been no ‘easy’ games on this tour, each contest has proved challenging for the playing group.
Our playing record for this tour now includes two losses, a draw and two wins.
The narrow loses came in the games against Outwood Grange Academy and Hopwood Hall College and the draw came against our arch rivals Castleford Academy in the form of a pulsating 22 all draw.
This is the first time we have not been beaten by this school in a tour match and represents an exceptional result for the squad.
As the team progressed through the games on this tour the most pleasing aspects of their performance for the coaching staff was seeing the players develop the mental toughness and technique variations, particularly among the younger team members, to deal with older and stronger oppositions.
We would like to thank all the teams we played for giving us the opportunity to test our skills in a foreign environment and in particular the organising and presiding officials who made each game possible.
WE HAVE RETAINED ALL COACHING STAFF FOR 2011. THE LINE UP INCLUDES:
Mr Bill Esau: Local Schoolboy Rugby League Icon and RLA Program Co-ordinator Mr Nathan Doyle: Former back to back A Grade premiership winning coach and RLA HEAD COACH Mr Janan Billings: Cutters and Brothers Hooker and RLA Under 15 Division 1 Coach Mr Andrew Dell: Souths Sharks Half and Year 9 Coach Mr Glenn Ottaway: Head of Department and Year 8 RLA Coach
A detailed program has been developed covering the following teaching concepts.
These concepts have been linked to the current Health and
Physical Education (H.P.E.) syllabus document that enhances attitudes of students toward healthy lifestyles, nutrition and exercise, and assists in the development of student skills and fitness needed for continued involvement in physical activity:
• Exercise Physiology
• Sports Psychology
• Training Programs
– Strength and Conditioning
• Nutrition / Nutrition for Sports People
• Injury / Injury Prevention
• Career development
The program will focus on individual offensive and defensive skills, game play, tactics and motor skill development such as evasion, ball handling, passing and movement efficiency.
Students will also learn roles and
objectives of specific positions and patterns of play.