Canetoads juniors pave the way for future success

The under 16s Burdekin Canetoads are riding high after a standard-setting performance that earned them the team of the round honours for their recent patch of form.

The under 16s Burdekin Canetoads are riding high after a standard-setting performance that earned them the team of the round honours for their recent patch of form.

The under 16s have proved their class, climbing into the second-ranked spot on the junior ladder, nestled just behind the competition-leading Brothers under 16s.

The two sides are set to lock horns in the coming weeks, with Burdekin in a prime position to spark an upset thanks to their recent display of attacking prowess.

The side scored nearly 150 points in their three most recent turns on the turf and have proven themselves able in defence as well.

Coach Stephen Keryk says the side is gelling well, thanks to the continuity between the players, all of whom have performed well individually.

“The core of this team, they’ve been together for about six years now. They’ve played together since 2015, and we’ve got a squad of 24 who constantly turn up to training,” Keryk said.

“They’ve been playing some really good football, and they’ve come together really well.

“It’s all coming to fruition to a degree.”

It’s not just tight-knit camaraderie that’s driving the team, but commitment too, with a strong sense of discipline seeing the under 16s line up on the paddock for training early this year.

“They’re all there, they’ve been there from the pre-season, we’ve had a minimum of about twenty-odd players showing up during the pre-season, they’ve started the year off really well off the back of that,” Keryk said.

“My co-coach, Christian Lago, we’ve been together for all the way through those six years because our sons are both in the team, so it’s been good to be a part of it.”

Keryk says the ultimate goal is to ensure the sport remains enjoyable for his and Lago’s young charges, with the hope that they’ll stick with Union and the Canetoads.

“That’s one of the goals for us is to have those lads follow through and be senior Canetoads eventually; that’s what we’re trying to do, and we want to make sure they enjoy it, and they can go further,” Keryk said.

“It’s across the board too, because I know the 12s are doing astronomically well at the moment as well, they’ve got really strong numbers, and they’re doing really well in their age group.”

In addition to their success in the local competition, a few members of the under 16s playing group are set to step up to the representative arena after being selected to train as Townsville Brolgas.

“Six of the boys in our squad have made the rep team, and they’ll be heading down to Toowoomba across the June and July holidays,” Keryk said.

But in the immediate future, Keryk’s focus is at home, where the Canetoads will soon take on Brothers in a top of the table clash.

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