Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Looking for Generation Next

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Looking for Generation Next

Article excerpt

Byline: GREG WHITE

WHEN the new National Rugby League season begins on Friday, local eyes will be seeking out the 'next big thing' to emerge from the ranks of the VB Gold Group 2 competition.

Melbourne Storm superstar Greg Inglis will head the list of players who first received their grounding in the game on local footy fields but waiting in the wings is a new wave of talent, champing at the bit for an opportunity to prove their credentials.

Good judges are tipping former Kempsey utility Albert Kelly is on the brink of a sensational career and won't remain in Parramatta's Under-20 Toyota Cup (NYC) squad for long.

While watching Kelly as a 13-year-old playing in a junior league grand final for Smithtown Tigers, league 'Immortal' Arthur Beetson predicted the young star was a certain future Test selection.

Now that Macleay Valley friend and mentor Mark Morrison is on the coaching staff with the Eels to fine tune Kelly's development, that long-awaited his first-grade debut must be closing in.

But the biggest tip for overnight success in 2009 must be former Sawtell Panther and now Gold Coast Titan, Kevin Gordon.

The Titans fought off attempts over the summer by at least five rival clubs to obtain the services of the hard-running centre-winger and in the last few days, Gordon has gained first-hand experience of what it's like to be (literally) an NRL 'poster boy'.

Within days of being elevated from the NYC team to the top NRL grade, Gordon's face is on a collector's stamp for a supporter's poster being distributed by a Gold Coast newspaper.

During 2009, players with prior top-grade experience such as Jacob Selmes, Aiden Tolman and Scott Dureau are expected to fully entrench themselves in the run-on side at their respective clubs, while one-time Coffs Comet, Adam 'Mad Dog' MacDougall, has pledged to end his long career in a blaze of glory at the Newcastle Knights.

Others, like last season's Under-20's grand-final opponents Michael Spence and Shaun Fensom are all but guaranteed opportunities before the year ends . …

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