- Thursday 03 March 2016
Rugby league is finally back and for the Storm NYC Thunderbolts this weekend represents much more than just the start of a new season.
This Sunday will mark the first time the team will play for points in front of its new home and fans at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
And lining up for the Storm under-20s in their home debut against St George Illawarra will be three Sunshine Coast juniors – wingers Nat McGavin and Louis Geraghty – and interchange forward Lachlan Timm, who have all had the Maroochydore Swans club play a role in their rugby league development.
The Storm announced today that Lachlan has also been included in the Storm’s six-player leadership group for 2016.
Sunshine Coast Council’s Director of Community Services Coralie Nichols said the Coast trio would be the first of hopefully many young footballers to experience the benefits of the region’s growing connection with Melbourne.
“We wish Nat, Louis and Lachlan – and their Storm teammates - all the best in what will be a big moment in their rugby league careers,” Ms Nichols said.
“Our three local boys are getting their opportunity to shine in the game’s premier national under-age competition and doing it at home thanks to the Storm’s decision to partner with council and relocate their NYC program to Sunshine Coast Stadium.
“It is one of the great benefits of what has been established here with many more other local youngsters in the wider NYC squad and Storm Academy.
“I’d encourage all Sunshine Coast league fans to get to the ground on Sunday for what will be an historic occasion and get right behind our Thunderbolts.”
The day will kick off at 12.40pm with the Storm-aligned Sunshine Coast Falcons beginning their 2016 Intrust Super Cup campaign against Northern Pride.
The Thunderbolts will then take on the Dragons at 2.30pm as they begin their season under new coach Eric Smith.
“Pre-season has flown passed pretty quickly, this (round one) seems like it was a long way off back in November,” Smith said.
“From where we were in November as a squad and as individuals, the players have really come a long way and I couldn’t be prouder of what they have put in.
“They have worked really hard and they are excited for the games to start this year.”
The opportunity to open the season on the Sunshine Coast marks yet another chapter in the exciting changes for Storm’s Under-20s side.
“The guys are really excited, I think it is fitting that we get to play our first game based here on the Sunshine Coast.
“We’re hoping it is going to be a really good turn out for us and hoping that we are get the results we’re after.”
Thunderbolts players will join Queensland Rugby League clubs in promoting organ and tissue donation awareness this Sunday in support of Zaidee’s Rainbow Foundation Round. Players will proudly take the field in rainbow colour shoelaces to support the Foundation and the James Ackerman Family Trust Fund.
Plenty of kids activities will be available during Sunday’s double-header including a jumping castle, face-painting and laser skirmish.
Queensland-based Storm members will get in to the ground for free, making this weekend’s two-for-one rugby league showcase an ideal Sunday afternoon.
Tickets will be available at the gate.
11.40am: Gates Open/Box Office Open
12.40pm: Sunshine Coast Falcons v Northern Pride
2.30pm: Melbourne Storm NYC V St George Illawarra Dragons