Independent and FREE - 2021 Best Online Publication

Electric new pathway to the NRL for Coast schoolboys

Independent and FREE – 2021 Best Online Publication (Qld Country Press)

Electric new pathway to the NRL for Coast schoolboys


New partnership provides school's rugby league prospects with direct link to the elite stage

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The region’s best young rugby league players have a new pathway to the NRL, thanks to a school’s new partnership with a powerhouse club.

An affiliation between Caloundra State High School and the Melbourne Storm has been launched during the team’s week-long camp away from home.

The initiative strengthens the Storm’s ties to the region, including being the owners of the Sunshine Coast Lightning netball team, a long-term association with the Falcons rugby league team and creation of the Tornados development squad.

Storm Pathways Manager Tim Glasby said the partnership would build on the club’s commitments to the local rugby league community and provide another step in Storm’s pathways program.

“Caloundra High has established an excellent rugby league program, where students can select footy as a subject. The program aligns very closely with our Storm values,” he said.

“Their coaches have been with our (Sunshine Coast) Tornadoes and (Brisbane) Cyclones development squads over the last 18 months and have proven to be of a very high quality.

“While it is still quite young, the Caloundra High program has yielded excellent results with two teams promoted to the top tier South-East Queensland schoolboys competitions this year and some exciting young prospects emerging.

“This partnership will provide a range of benefits to both Storm and the students and teachers/coaches of Caloundra High School, who now have a direct link to an elite level sporting organisation.”

Storm NRL squad member and ex-Caloundra High teacher, Chris Lewis, with students Chase Paterson and Tully McLellan.

As part of the partnership, Caloundra High’s facilities will be used by the Tornados squad and Storm will provide professional development opportunities for the teachers/coaches.

Caloundra High School’s Rugby League Coordinator, Craig Monaghan, said it was a promising initiative.

“The announcement of this partnership between the Melbourne Storm and Caloundra State High School is something we are extremely excited and proud of,” he said.

“The rugby league program at Caloundra SHS has grown rapidly with huge success since its commencement in 2016.

“This partnership is testament to both parties as we see the opportunities that this will bring to students on the Sunshine Coast and surrounding areas.

“With rugby league on the Sunshine Coast continually growing, we believe that this partnership will aid in providing an elite pathway for all our young players.

“Being the first Sunshine Coast-based school to be able to offer this opportunity will enable us to work with Melbourne Storm to ensure that together we can create the best possible outcomes for rugby league students, to learn and develop themselves as players and individuals.”

The Storm squad includes a former Caloundra High School teacher, Chris Lewis, who has made 30 NRL appearances in the purple jersey since his debut in 2020.

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