The American National Rugby League’s preparations for this year’s World Cup qualifiers move up another notch this week with AMNRL president David Niu and USA Tomahawks head coach Matt Elliott flying to Hawaii Thursday for a series of team development meetings and a high performance camp. The goal is to ensure that the Tomahawks are adequately prepared for their upcoming international program. The US is slated to play Canada in a two-match home and home Colonial Cup series in August, ahead of the RLWCQ in Philadelphia in October.
Niu and Elliott will use the Hawaii trip to develop a strategic plan that encompasses individual player assessment and evaluation, review of game videos, preparation of individual player training programs, and formulation of a blueprint for the USA’s road to the 2013 RLWC. Coach Elliott says that in many ways the Hawaii trip is a fact-finding mission and that his job will be more “a role of observation” than anything else. He says he wants to start “working out the players’ strengths and weaknesses” before they come together as a squad. “I’ve told Dave that if we don’t have an idea of these things beforehand, we will minimize our effectiveness as a team when we assemble,” continues Elliott.
Included on the itinerary will be a couple of trial games on Saturday so that Elliott and Niu can eyeball some of the potential national squad players who will be on show. They will also get a firsthand look at War Memorial Stadium on Maui. The AMNRL delegation will be guests of the Maui Office of Economic Development which has been exceptionally responsive to their planned visit to the island. The overall goal is to build a dynamic player pool that encompasses personnel/athletes from all the regions that are committed to the collective goal of the USA Tomahawks qualifying for the 2013 RLWC in the UK. “We are scheduling high performance camps, player meetings, and game observation in the East and West between now and the end of August, along with monitoring the progress of our foreign based personnel,” adds Niu.
The East high performance camp is tentatively set for August 18th through the 28th and will include the AMNRL Atlantic Conference Grand Final and the opening Colonial Cup test between the USA and Canada in Philadelphia.
USA Tomahawks 2011 schedule:
Saturday, August 27 v Canada (Philadelphia)
Saturday, September 17 v Canada (Toronto)
Saturday, October 15 v South Africa (Philadelphia)
Sunday, October 23 v Jamaica (Philadelphia)