Young Tigers' big break

Emerald Tigers Lloyd Stiegler, Joe Taylor and Whetu Austin with Easts assistant coach Craig Ingebrigtsen.
Emerald Tigers Lloyd Stiegler, Joe Taylor and Whetu Austin with Easts assistant coach Craig Ingebrigtsen.

KEEP your eye on these three Emerald footballers, they could soon be coming to a television screen near you.

The Emerald Junior Tigers trio of Joe Taylor, Whetu Austin and Lloyd Stiegler were offered one-year contracts with Melbourne Storm feeder club Eastern Suburbs Tigers in Brisbane, after successful trials with the club's Colts under-20 grade.

Fellow junior Tiger Jared Firth was also invited to the trial but was unable to attend due to injury.

This new breed of Central Highlands talent outperformed in the under-18 competition, earning themselves a number of appearances this season in the Tigers' A-grade line-up.

A regular representative in Central Highlands and Central Queensland sides, Stiegler said his

Brisbane run was all and everything he could have hoped for.

"I really enjoyed playing in the trial game against other talented and fit players and found it not only challenging but a good reminder to stay focused on my goal," Stiegler said.

Emerald Tigers vice-president Jay Edwards said while he was disappointed to see such great talent leave the Highlands, it was rewarding to know the Tigers rugby league club was once part of their development.

Their trip to Brisbane was made possible not only through great support by the Tigers club but also through a $2700 funding boost from the Kestrel Aboriginal Community Development Fund.

"They provided a large portion of the funding to get these boys down to Brisbane and back," Edwards said.

"KACDF is a great organisation which supports a lot of Aboriginal and community events around CQ."

Kestrel fund spokesman Patrick Malone said the opportunity offered invaluable exposure for the Central Highlands player's skills sets and provided great life skills for the youngsters as well.

It's not all set in stone just yet for Easts' latest recruits, with pre-season training and yet more selection still ahead of them.

The Colts initial 30-man squad will be whittled down to 25 after pre-season for play in the regular competition.

The Emerald Tigers are also discussing tentative plans to strengthen their links with the Brisbane-based club in the future.

"It's one of our club's goals to help provide talented and dedicated players with direct pathways into feeder clubs for the NRL," Edwards said.

A more detailed report on the Tigers new plans will appear at a later stage in the Central Queensland News.

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