In a week heavily focused on the development of young NSW talent, one player has been busier than most.
The NSWRL has held two camps for its up-and-comers in recent days, targeting players at various stages of their development en route to their Origin dreams. First came the Emerging Blues camp at ANZ Stadium, featuring almost 40 players either playing in or on the cusp of NRL, before the NSW Under-16s and Under-18s squads came together for the first NSWRL Pathways camp of the year at the Sydney Academy of Sport.
At just 17 years of age, Kyle Schneider was the only player selected to take part in both.
The young Parramatta Eels hooker, who has captained his side to consecutive Harold Matthews and SG Ball titles and also led the NSW Under-16s to victory in 2016, impressed coaching staff enough to be given a place next to the more senior group at ANZ Stadium on Saturday. It’s not an opportunity he will take lightly.
“It was really a great experience actually, to be there on the day and to have the calibre of guys that I had around me such as Angus Crichton, Nathan Cleary and Mitch Moses,” Schneider tells NSWRL.com.au. “It was great to have them around me to feed off and get their energy for the day.
“It gives me a bit of confidence, but it’s also humbling to have the accolade to be picked in that as well.”
A regular in the NSWRL Pathways program for two seasons, the young dummy-half has had the luxury of the best coaching staff the state has to offer – none moreso than legendary no.9 and current Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues Assistant Coach Danny Buderus.
“He’s had a massive influence on my game, ever since I was a young kid I’ve always looked up to Danny and the way he’s played,” Schneider says. “It’s been a great experience having him mentor me over the past couple of years and to the player I am today.”
Buderus, who was an assistant coach of the NSW Under-16s and Under-18s in 2017, likes what he sees in the Eels rake.
“It’s a position that needs a lot of nurturing, I guess you could say, in bringing these young ones along,” Buderus explains. “He (Schneider) possesses skills that would go well in the Origin arena.
“He’s got a lot of toughness about him and he’s still learning the ropes. The more you can bring guys along and be patient with them and just give them a little taste here and there, they really feel a part of it and they reward you.
“He came here today and was best trainer by a mile – so he should be. He was loud and very confident in what he could do.”
Featuring prominently since bursting into the NSWRL Junior Representative competitions two seasons ago, Schneider will now return to SG Ball for a final year before a likely selection in the NSW Under-18s outfit in June. From there, the Lake Haven junior could find himself in either the Jersey Flegg Cup or Intrust Super Premiership NSW by season’s end, with a view to progress to the NRL sooner rather than later.