The New South Wales Rugby League's blue-ribbon representative competitions, SG Ball (under-18s) and Harold Matthews (under-16s), are primed for kick-off this weekend.
The competitions are pivotal pathways for rugby league both at the elite and grassroots levels.
Last season the Sydney Roosters finished the year as SG Ball champions while in Harold Matthews Newcastle were crowned the league's best. Both sides will be hard to beat in 2015.
Coach of the NSW VB Blues Laurie Daley vividly remembers playing in similar under-age competitions in his youth, an experience he regards as critical to development of football careers and of individuals.
“I clearly recall playing Jersey Flegg for the Raiders in 1987, a grade which was then the under-19s competition,” Daley said.
“Under-age competitions like SG Ball and Harold Matthews are of incredible importance to rugby league. I know plenty of my Origin side graduated from the competitions – and the future of the Blues will be playing in 2015's tournaments too.
“The boys will have a lot of fun, learn a lot about themselves as players and as people and they’ll graduate from these under-age competitions with memories that’ll last a lifetime. The games will make great spectacles for the fans and players' families too.”
Both competitions begin on Saturday morning, and as always you can keep up to date with scores and results by following NSWRL on Twitter. Use the @NSWRL handle and #HMatts and #SGBall hashtags to keep abreast of all the action.