WAKEFIELD-born former England Academy captain Adam Milner has given his support to the class of 2011 as they prepare to take on the Australian Institute of Sport at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday.
The Castleford Tigers hooker led the Academy to a 2-0 series win over the Australian Schoolboys in 2010, their first series success against the young Aussies since 2004, and he believes the current squad can build on that result against the AIS this weekend.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats starlet Sam Doherty has been selected for the English team and Milner thinks that the experience will be valuable for Doherty and his team-mates.
“Playing in the Academy last year was a brilliant experience and one of the best moments of my career so far,” said Milner.
“Winning was great but to win in the style we did was even better because it’s not often you get the chance to take on the Aussies.
“I wish the lads all the best and I’m sure they’ll give a great account of themselves. You can see there’s a lot of focus on youth talent at the RFL and there are certainly some very talented players coming through the system and no doubt I’ll come up against a few of them in Super League next season.
“The most important thing for the players on Sunday is to enjoy the experience. It’s easy to get caught up in the emotions but in these sort of games you need to keep calm, stick to the game-plan and stay focused. But I’d urge the players to enjoy the game and make the most of the opportunity.”
Milner added: “The experience of going up against the Australians was a huge boost and proved to be a great stepping stone for Super League.
“That series gave everyone involved some valuable experience at an intense level where you needed to be alert for the full 80 minutes and that prepares you well for Super League.
“The set-up I was part of last year was very good and the training we received was second to none so it bodes well for the emerging talent coming through.”
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