Through the aid of the WA Rugby League development officers, several programs utilise the West Coast Pirates brand as a development pathway for younger stars.
The Pirates Development Squad (catering for U-14’s), Academy (U-16’s) and SG-Ball (U-18’s) sides offer the cream of Western Australian young talent a chance to take on board quality coaching and compete at the highest level.
One ‘graduate’ of the program, Jarrad Smith, has played his way through this pathway and has earnt himself a spot in the Newcastle Knights U-20 development squad, with the chance of becoming the next WA product to play Holden Cup.
“Pirates was great for me because it’s all about testing your own limits… the camps, the games, the hard trainings,” he said.
“It’s crucial to know your limits going into the big games and know how far you can actually push yourself.”
He also highlighted the development pathway’s all round effectiveness for aspring young stars as they aim for the future.
“It teaches a lot on the rugby league side but it also mentally strengthens you and I loved every minute of it.”
Smith was quick to point out the fact that the WARL Premiership first grade competition was also a major stepping stone on his way to Newcastle.
“The pinnacle of you playing in the first grade competition, thats a really big competition, and a lot of people underestimate it, but it’s helped me a lot,” he said.
“Thats a big stepping stone that a lot of young kids should aspire to.”
And when asked to give advice for the young guns going through the Pirates and state systems, Smith was more than happy to pass on a few choice words.
“They’re (the opposition) only human,” he said.
“From past experiences, they eat like you, sleep like you, they’re exactly the same as you.”
“You just gotta go out there and play like it’s your last, y’know.”