Thunderbolts announce leadership group

The Thunderbolts have announced their leadership group for the 2017 season.

Coach Eric Smith has named eight players; Dale Madden, Jesse Arthars, Louis Geraghty, Harry Grant, Cory Parker, Matt Egan, Jacob Elmore and Taumutu Afemui-Nohotima in leadership positions.

Grant will captain the team while the leadership group will be made up of five other players who are returning to the Thunderbolts for a second year - Arthars, Geraghty, Parker, Egan and Elmore.

Madden and Afemui-Nohotima have also been named leaders after crossing from the Broncos and Raiders NYC systems over summer.

With the start of the season only five days away, Smith says the eight players have wasted little time in driving the standards of the playing group.

“They’ve taken a pivotal role in driving standards already,” Smith said.

“They have been driving a lot of our team trademarks with the players. They will do their own skills sessions and a number of leadership group specific jobs around team discipline and off-field responsibility.

“I think it is a real positive the players themselves, as a leadership group, are willing to do that.

“The fact it is not coming from me as a coach but coming from their peers, is really helping them evolve into men.”

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The appointment of Grant as captain is a testament to all the hard work he has put in over the last 12 months.

His 2016 season may have been cut short through injury but that did not stop the youngster from having an impact on his teammates.

“Harry was pretty unlucky last year, he got injured and spent a lot of time out but in saying that he was always one of our best trainers and always lead from the front in everything we were doing,” Smith said.

“He is a very intelligent footballer. He is a very tough kid who works really, really hard.

“He has been a really good leader this pre-season, he is happy to pull players into line when required. Earning the captaincy has meant a lot, along with the team training well and the Melbourne Storm standards being met.

“Since being named captain he has taken to the role really well and I’ve been really pleased to see him step up.”

The Thunderbolts will kick-off their 2017 campaign at 3.45pm this Friday against the Bulldogs at Belmore Sports Ground.