NORTHERN Pride under-18s coach Cameron Miller expects a few selection headaches when it comes time to pick his side for round one in next year's Mal Meninga Cup.
The Pride under-18s enjoyed great success in the state-wide competition last season.
Coached by Michael White, the Pride progressed to the semifinals before they were eliminated by Redcliffe.
With 38 players to choose from, Miller isn’t lacking talent to experiment with.
"We’ve got some pretty high expectations for next year, but at the end of the day it’s really all about development," Miller said.
"That’s our focus. Hopefully these guys can go on to play in the Cairns A Grade competition, get in the NRL under-20s system somewhere or turn into Q Cup players.’’
The under-18s have been training for two weeks, but Miller said it was too early to nominate his best 17.
"There’s a core group of guys from last year, but other than that it’s pretty open for selection," he said.
"I’m definitely expecting a few headaches with the blokes we’ve got."
Pride under-16s coach Paul Callaghan is also bracing for a hard time at the selection table.
The 2012 mentor doesn’t have many players returning from last season’s Cyril Connell Cup squad after most graduated to the under-18 ranks.
Starting with a clean slate presents some tough challenges, but Callaghan knows what he wants to achieve next year.
"We started off a bit slow last year and gradually got better," Callaghan said.
"But this time we want to start better. Last year we lost our first three games, so this time we want to win at least two of our first three to put ourselves in a better position.’’
To help to do that, Callaghan aims to develop the core skills of his players during the squad’s pre-Christmas training sessions.
"We want to make sure they have that technique so we can build upon it," Callaghan said.
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Hard Choices:Northern Pride under-16 and under-18 coaches Paul Callaghan and Cameron Miller face some tough selections.