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Rugby League Academy Launched At Otago Polytechnic

The recent launch of a New Zealand Warriors-linked Rugby League Academy at Otago Polytechnic’s Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health marks a significant step for promising players in the South.

Utilising the Otago Polytechnic facilities at Tapuae gym, Southern Zone Rugby League launched its Academy on Thursday 18 April in association with the One NZ Warriors.

Initially, 17 players have been selected for the Academy across the Southern Zone (eight from Southland, eight from Otago and one from West Coast).

The Southern Zone group is the first within the wider Warriors Academy network to include females (seven out of the group of 17).

"This is a proud occasion for Southern Zone in so many ways, but to be the first Warriors Academy to welcome girls in New Zealand is pretty special for our young females," says Liam Turner, General Manager of Southern Zone Rugby League.

"We are very pleased to get to this point. It is a huge step forward for the growth of our game. There has been a lot of hard work behind the scenes. Certainly, his Academy would not have been possible without the support of Adain Summerfield and Otago Polytechnic.

"It is an exciting partnership, and we look forward to working with Adain and his team, so the students from the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health can benefit from our partnership as well," Liam says.

Nathan Jones will lead the delivery of the Academy as Head Trainer and Manager. Nathan’s background includes more than 20 years of experience in strength and conditioning, including being involved with the Melbourne Storm NRL franchise for many years.

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To help celebrate the launch of the Academy, New Zealand Rugby League legend Tony Iro spoke to the group of aspiring players following training sessions in the gym and on adjacent fields.

Although the Academy is based at Tapuae Gym in Dunedin, there will be hubs in Invercargill, Timaru, and Greymouth to support any players from those areas.

"The launch of the Academy is significant," says Adain Summerfield, Senior Lecturer, Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health.

"This is something we’ve been working on for a long time. The support of the Warriors is key to this, as is the relationship we have with Southern Zone Rugby League.

"To share Tapuae gym with this group of aspiring Warriors aligns perfectly with the values of the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health and provides a valuable opportunity for our learners to apply their learning in a professional, high-performance setting," Adain says.

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