SKILLED: Kai O’Donnell, 17, and Taine Browne, 16, are a part of the Cowboys Academy.
SKILLED: Kai O’Donnell, 17, and Taine Browne, 16, are a part of the Cowboys Academy.

Talent in Cowboys Academy

RUGBY LEAGUE: THE skills of our young rugby league players have been recognised with two locals selected to attend the NQ Cowboys Academy.

Kai O'Donnell, 17, and Taine Browne, 16, from Proserpine are part of the Whitsunday Brahmans Rugby League team and students at Proserpine State High School.

Taine has been a keen player since he was 12 years old and has now been a part of the academy for one month.

He said he has had one training session so far with Australian former rugby league footballer, Matt Bowen.

"Kai actually told me first that I'd made it and it was really flattering," he said.

"It's a great pathway to get onto the Cowboys teams in the future."

The academy provides a pathway for promising young rugby league players by supporting their development and transition into the game.

The Cowboys recruitment manager and trusted local coaches attend key rugby league events to select potential players every year in late February/early March.

Those identified are then invited to attend six academy sessions in their local area each year.

Now in his second year at the academy, Kai has been playing since he was 10.

Since attending, Kai said he had met some of his biggest idols.

"I've met Johnathan Thurston and the under 20s Cowboys coach Aaron Payne," he said. "It's a really good opportunity to meet them and get to work with them."

Kai said he has gained invaluable skills and learned drills and techniques to better his game.

"It helps a lot and it's a great opportunity to train with good coaches," he said.

The academy also offers feedback and communication to ensure players are progressing.


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