Joe Cudmore’s Port Macquarie Sharks ambition

Young star: Blake Ryan in action for the Port Macquarie Sharks last season. The club has junior development on its mind in 2016. Pic: PETER GLEESON
Young star: Blake Ryan in action for the Port Macquarie Sharks last season. The club has junior development on its mind in 2016. Pic: PETER GLEESON

NEW Port Sharks coach Joe Cudmore has the juniors on his mind as he begins planning to go back to back in the Group 3 rugby league competition.

Cudmore is looking for some younger players to make the step up in 2016, and has been impressed with what he's seen so far in non-compulsory training.

He looks forward to sitting on the hill in retirement, having a beer and watching a successful club. Even tough that's a couple of years off, for Cudmore, that plan starts now.

His idea for the training sessions was to bring some of the new juniors up to speed about what he expects in senior training.

"And they impressed me," Cudmore said.

"They've got good skills."

He's put them through their paces with ball work and speed drills. Cudmore is also big on discipline.

"Not taking shortcuts," he said.

"That's the kind of thing that wins premierships."

Young stars will be given plenty of opportunity to shine with the Sharks. The likes of Ethan McKenna, Group 3 under 18s player of the year Mitch Wilbow, Blake Ryan and Mitch Smith all had standout seasons in 2015.

Former Sharks coach Matt Shipway is among those who will be integral to their success.

"He's a perfect example of knowing what to do," Cudmore said about his predecessor.

Cudmore won't have to chase too many players this season, but he's made one great signing already for the Sharks. Former Forster Tuncurry Hawk Ben Kirkland will bring plenty of size and experience to the forwards.

"I'd much rather be playing with him than against him," Cudmore said of Kirkland.

"He'll relish playing in our forward pack."