Hard yards along road to big time 26 January 2008 http://manlydaily.com.au/article/2008/01/26/8431_sports.html THEIR mission was to spend a week living the life of an NRL player but just the hard work part, with no big money perks. And by the end of it, the 14 prospective Sea Eagles were worn out, but they knew how hard they needed to work to make it in the NRL. The ambitious juniors, who came from all over Australia and New Zealand, were identified by Sea Eagles recruitment officers Noel Cleal and Dave Warwick at various schoolboy carnivals in 2007. The process of having players on scholarships around the country is not a unique one all clubs do it. In fact, most clubs seem to afford to pour more money into it than Manly do. But for the 14 players who were flown down to spend the week finding out just what an NRL player goes through each week, it's an invaluable experience. "I'm absolutely tired at the end of it all, we're not used to it in the country," Tamworth-based Scott Blanch said. "Where I'm from, you have two sessions a week that go for two hours and then you can just go home but here you train all day. Some afternoons we've had two-hour sessions at the end of it." The squad also came to grips with the technological side of football, a field where Manly leads the NRL. "It's important for their learning to see what an NRL player actually goes through each week," Warwick said. "It gave them an insight on how we do our stats and technology." It certainly proved to be an eye-opener for 16-year-old Corey Davis, who hails from Innisfail in the nation's north. "I've learned a lot this week, that's for sure," Corey said. "We don't do a lot of that stuff up north, I never knew footy could be that technical. "It's at a different level, that's for sure. "And I never thought I'd be able to chat to Mick (Bani) but he told me to stick with football and said that the best thing he ever did was to stick with it. "I know it might be a bit hard to move away from the family and all that, but he's shown it can be done."