17 Apr 2011

The Serbian Rugby League Federation kicks off the national team’s preparation for October's World Cup qualifiers with the arival of Lee Crooks, Serbia's Technical Director, on Friday, April 15th. Crooks plans to spend two weeks in Serbia supervising and working closely with national team coach Marko Jankovic and the best players that Serbia has to offer, overseeing them in a hit-out against Germany’s train-on squad for their upcoming international season. He will also have the opportunity to work with the domestic clubs’ coaching staff to improve their knowledge of the rugby league.

’’The visit to Serbia will allow me to see hopefully how well things have progressed since my last visit as well as getting down to some hands on training with the national squad prior to the game versus Germany,“ said Crooks. ’’The origin game is a great concept as it allows the best players to play against each other challenging them in all aspects of the game. It also allows myself and Marko Jankovic to see which players can step upto the mark prior to the Germany game which will help our selection. The game itself is a step into the dark for me but the preparation for it will be exactly the same as if we were playing Lebanon, Italy or Russia. No stone left unturned in what is going to be the biggest season in Serbian rugby league history and one I am looking forward to.“

Two days after his arrival the SRLF is organising the traditional State of Origin match, between Belgrade and Rest of Serbia. The game will be held in the city of Ruma, 50 km from Belgrade, thanks to a significant show of support from the local authorities, the Sport Association of Ruma and city mayor. The local community has expressed their keenness to create a rugby league club, and are now in talks with the SRLF to turn those wishes into reality . There is a large number of expats living in Belgrade who, following intervention by the Belgrade Foreign Visitors Club, will be joining the crowd in the stands of FC Ruma’s 1 May stadium and the post-match celebrations organised by Ruma City Hall. All this points towards what the SRLF are calling "the best organised State of Origin match in Serbia so far".