History will be made on Saturday when the West Coast Pirates Under 16’s side take on the New South Wales Indigenous Development Squad in the curtain raiser for the NRL blockbuster between South Sydney and New Zealand Warriors at nib Stadium.
The Shield, a brainchild of WARL Development Officer Edward Easter and NSWRL’s, will see two of the games’ most exciting batch of youngsters face off on what is hoped to be an annual event.
The NSW Indigenous squad, led by head coach Gerald Bradshaw, are already training in Western Australia in the lead up to the inaugural clash.
The Pirates Under 16’s squad is a transitional group that maintains a pathway for young players in Western Australia and also prepares them for the rigours of SG Ball football.
“The point of this match is two-fold, firstly, to expose a talented group of players to a level of representative football they may have missed out on otherwise due to the range and age of state teams,” he said.
“And secondly, to build a relationship with the NSW Indigenous Rugby League setup by playing a curtain raiser here every year.”
As part of this agreement, there will be a return fixture in January each year when the Pirates Academy, the Under 15’s, travel to Sydney on tour.
“This will be great for Junior Football in Western Australia”, Easter said.