RUGBY LEAGUE: CQ Capras coach Kim Williams says there's some serious talent coming through the junior ranks in central Queensland.
"The quality was excellent, in particular with the 18s, just the sheer weight of numbers,” Williams said.
There were more than 100 kids who took part in the under-18 trials, and about 50 chasing U20 selection.
Williams said they were "very happy” with those numbers. He said there was a wide range of players from throughout the district, including Gladstone, which was excellent to see.
A second trial will be held to cut the U18 squad on September 30 after the initial squad was narrowed to 41. It will then be cut to about 30.
The U20s squad has been finalised with 31 players named.
The 18s side will play in the Mal Meninga Cup competition next year, which is a seven week competition plus finals.
However, the U20 competition is a new format, it replaces the National Youth Competition, which ends this year.
Instead of running nationally it will run on a state-by-state basis.
"With the 20s they are basically going to train similar to what our first-grade squad does in terms of sessions and commitment required,” Williams said.
The Intrust Super Cup coach said it was a big step up for the U20s players.
"It's a full season competition and the pre-season is pretty well four months and four sessions a week, there's not many of those guys that will be used to that intensity at training and frequency of training,” Williams said.
"It will certainly test the commitment of these players and that's what they need to do to play at this level and we're definitely in it to be competitive.
"But our overriding philosophy of both the 18s and 20s is to turn them into Intrust Super Cup players and then into NRL players of the future.”
Williams said the 20s competition was a big deal for regional kids as it would allow them to play closer to home.
Both squads will start training in November.