Every week the Thunderbolts aim to learn, develop and improve.
With each game their experience level grows and so too does their confidence. Even a loss is a chance to learn from the mistakes.
As far as losses go, they do not come much tougher than Monday night. Leading by 22 points in the second half, the Thunderbolts were overwhelmed late, falling 48-40 against an undefeated Cronulla.
As tough as the result was to take, it represents yet another step in the development process for the young Under-20s side.
“It is a really big learning curve for these kids, they are very young, a lot of them are only turning 18 this year and they’ve never played this level of football,” Thunderbolts coach Eric Smith said.
“They are all slowly and gradually, week by week, getting accustomed to that and adjusting to that kind of football. I think that has probably shown in some of our displays.
“(On Monday night) we played the best half of football we’ve played all year but we just weren’t able to hold on to the lead.
“They’ve got to get used to playing that consistent football and being able to string performances together under any circumstances.”
For the first time in 2016 the Thunderbolts will return to AAMI Park for Saturday’s curtain raiser against the Knights.
Based on the Sunshine Coast this year the side may be separated from the rest of the Club by distance but in terms of football ethos, the Storm mentality still resonates strongly.
“We’ve got to find that mentality that we’ve got to be in the grind no matter whether we are in front by 20 or 30 points the same attitude is applied,” Smith said.
“I know that is something that Craig Bellamy and Storm’s NRL staff have been driving for a long time, that Melbourne Storm players are consistent players under any circumstances.
“That is something this young group has to go a long way to learn… that first half of football showed just how good we can be.”
Gates will open at 12.30pm on Saturday with kids receiving free entry into AAMI Park.
Storm NYC Thunderbolts v Newcastle Knights
Saturday 2 April, 12.45pm
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