Four of the Vodafone Warriors’ most promising players will attend the National Rugby League’s second rookie camp next weekend.
The club’s 2005 rookie of the year Simon Mannering (19) will be joined by new signing Grant Rovelli (22) and promising forwards Sam Rapira (18) and Sonny Fai (17).
The rookie camp provides an opportunity to help emerging players in their transition to life as a professional footballer.
Running from January 29-31 at Sydney University Village, the format includes player development workshops and training sessions.
Top-level NRL management – including CEO David Gallop – are involved in presentations as are past and present players. Among them are league greats Laurie Daley, Andrew Johns and Shane Webcke. Other current players involved are former Vodafone Warrior P J Marsh (Parramatta), Jason King (Manly) and Luke Priddis (Penrith).
Of the four Vodafone Warriors attending, Mannering is the only one with first-grade experience, making his debut against Brisbane last year and going on to total seven appearances. The other three are set to become first-graders during the 2006 season.
Rovelli has spent the last three years with the Roosters’ premier league side, which won the grand final in 2004 and was beaten in the decider last year. His coach in 2003 and 2004 was new Vodafone Warriors head coach Ivan Cleary.
Fai, who turns 18 on March 20, travelled to Sydney as 18th man for the Vodafone Warriors’ final NRL match against Manly last year. Just out of school – De La Salle College – he was a Junior Kiwi in both 2004 and 2005 and also played for the New Zealand Residents side last year.
Rapira, also a Junior Kiwi in 2004-05, was captain of the side that trounced the Australian Schoolboys 46-8 in Brisbane last year. He was with Fai in the New Zealand Residents team, too. He was named young player of the year at the New Zealand Rugby League’s 2005 awards dinner.