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While we are disappointed at the decision by the NRL to ignore the benefits of a team on the Central Coast, it does provide some clarity for the immediate future of the Bears. Our energy can now be entirety focused towards the development and continued growth of Rugby League on the North Shore. The level of support for the game within our boundaries is still very strong, and being able to offer a direct pathway to the NRL for our aspiring players is very important. Our relationship with Melbourne Storm this season has provided an avenue to the top, as well as adding some welcome punch to our team in the NSWRL Premier League competition. The boys are more than competing in this arena, knocking off high flying clubs such as Parramatta Eels, St George Illawarra, Penrith Panthers and Canberra Raiders, to list just a few of their victories. The addition of Melbourne players such as Alex Chan and Jamie Feeney, coupled with the brilliance of rising stars Chris Tuatara and Lester Salanoa, has moulded this side into a force to be reckoned with.
One of the most pleasing aspects of the season so far is the progression of local junior Chris Tuatara. Chris is a 19 year old who is attracting the attention of recruitment officers from near and far. Spending the past couple of seasons playing rugby and targeted as a potential Waratah, he was considered a priority 2005 signing for us. He has managed to top the club's try scoring tally with 14 tries in 17 games, menace his opposition centres, as well as spend several weeks throughout the season training and traveling with the Melbourne Storm outfit. Of course Chris will admit that his success is partly due to his team mates and coach, but he is living proof that if you work hard enough and believe in yourself you can achieve your dreams. With a little more persistence Chris will be gracing our TV screens soon.
Another fine achievement worth recognising is the rise and rise of our 2005 Harold Matthews (u/16's) captain, Mitch Pearce. Mitch, a local junior, recently picked up our 'Junior Representative Player with the Most Potential' award, as well as representing the NSWCCC in the National Schoolboy Championships and being selected at half-back for the Australian Schoolboys team. Mitch has earned his recognition and was joined in the NSW squads by fellow Bears Liam Foran and Keiran Foran. Well done lads!
2006 shapes up as a year of anticipation. The foundations built over the past season will ensure that we set our goals high, looking to raise the bar every time we take the field. We have restabilised and are looking to take advantage of all the good work done, and if we can manage to retain most of the present playing and coaching staff we will succeed. The resolve and determination that represent this great club insist that we continue to provide for the spectacle that is our game, Rugby League.
PHOTO: Chris Tuatara in action against St George-Illawarra. Taken by Steve Little
North Sydney will be holding trials for Premier League, Jersey Flegg, SG Ball and Harold Matthews in October.
Information is available from the Bears website http://www.northsydneybears.com.au/