Phil Gould wasn't in Port Macquarie on April 12, but it didn't stop the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs' general manager of football from having an input into an under-14 and under-15 development and pathways clinic.
The Bulldogs were again visible on the North Coast as they look to strengthen their ties with the region which they hope will unearth a star or two for the future.
Development and pathways manager Craig Miller put around 50 players through their paces in a two-hour session which fine-tuned their skills ahead of the Group 3 season kick-off at the end of April.
"Phil Gould has a good saying with NRL players that most of the players that get there is through perseverance and that's what these kids need to keep doing," Miller said.
"If they keep doing that at some stage - you know yourself - you know you will get rewarded based solely on your effort and your right attitude."
The whole premise of the sessions - which were also held in Coffs Harbour, Taree and Tamworth this week - is to ensure the junior players can get the same level of coaching at home that they could get in Sydney.
"It's not a tyranny of distance thing saying (the kids) are missing out. They've got the coaching because we've got some good coaches here from the program. Then we will run a coaches academy in future," Miller said.
"Now both Groups 2 and 3 are part of our pathway program, this is just the start of it. We're going to be doing more and more of these over the next couple of years. The kids can then step into the Andrew Johns and Laurie Daley North Coast (representative) teams and then ultimately into the Bulldogs senior grades as they get older."
Miller was hopeful the players would walk away from the session having learned something they didn't already know.
"Generally with climbing the table with anything you do it's about having the right attitude and making sure your attitude is contagious so when you bounce in you give everything your best shot," he said.
"We use the term called care-factor where we want them to compete with the right attitude, be resilient and have effort on everything they do on and off the football field.
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