From Serbia to Super League - training with the Wolves

Learning from Tony Smith

From Serbia to Super League - training with the Wolves

From Serbia to Super League - training with the Wolves

First published in News

A PAIR of Serbian rugby league players enjoyed the chances to realise their dreams and train alongside the Super League stars they had only seen on television.

Serbian internationals Stevan Nedeljkovic and Stefan Stevanovic spent two weeks with Warrington Wolves after the club agreed to offer them some top-level experience.

And the 22-year-olds from Belgrade were not disappointed when their dreams became reality.

“I was really looking forward to meeting Chris Hill,” said Stefan. “He’s my favourite player and I am always comparing myself with him, his carries and his tackles and so on.

“I like to watch him play, although I never told Chris that I wanted to meet him!

“From the first day we entered the gym the players were all welcoming, they talked us and asked us to do a lot of plays they are doing just to be there and see how it feels.”

Dorcol Spiders teammate Stevan added: “It’s a dream come true for us, we watch the players on the TV and now we’re playing with them “In Serbia there is me and Stefan and some other young guys but here we are playing with Super Stars.

“I worked with Tony (Smith) in 2008 at an under 18s programme, although I had long hair so I’m not sure he recognised me, but now it’s an honour as he’s one of the best coaches in the world.”

The pair, who were staying in Huddersfield, also turned out for Woolston Rovers to get a taste for amateur rugby league in England.

Stefan explained: “We enjoyed it, but it wasn’t a game we expected it to be. We lost by too much and we were defending most of the time.

“At the beginning the players were running into us, but when they saw we could handle them they started avoiding those areas where we were playing.

“When we had the ball we showed good skills and all the people who watched said we were fine.”

With dreams of returning to England to play rugby league, Stevan and Stefan have certainly earned themselves a reference from Wolves’ head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith.

“I’ll certainly be happy to help them find a job in this country,” he said. “They’re not up to Super League level at the moment but they’ve got aspirations to play there.

“They’ve incredibly good physiques for rugby league, big boys, they’re just hungry for knowledge and they’ve been a pleasure to be around.”

Stefan added: “This trial was a dream come true, but if we got a professional contract that would be even better – I think we can play at least in a Championship side.”

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