Ricky Stuart is working on a reality TV show to find rugby league's next big thing. Photo: Graham Tidy
He is the coach of the Canberra Raiders and has been busy re-signing the club's young talent, but Ricky Stuart will also be the face of a ground-breaking rugby league reality television show designed to find the next NRL superstar.
The Coach will feature 15 unsigned league players who will be put through a series of tests and the prize is a full-time contract with an NRL club.
Stuart didn't want to go into details about the program when contacted on Friday morning, as his focus is on Sunday's match against the Manly Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval.
"It's a concept I'll be working on in the off-season and at this stage I'm not going to make any other comment about it because I've got a game to prepare for,'' Stuart said.
A Raiders spokesman said Stuart's involvement with the program wouldn't affect his commitments with the Raiders.
It has beenreported that Stuart would attend a camp with a shortlist of 100 contestants during the week of the Raiders' first bye, on June 13 at Leichhardt Oval.
Most of the filming for the Fox Sports show would take place at the University of New England in Armidale once the Raiders' season is over.
The Raiders have been reported – along with the Bulldogs, Roosters, Panthers and Storm – as clubs that would be interested in signing the winner of the program to a $75,000 contract, which would be exempt from the salary cap.
The show is likely to be broadcast in October and November to allow the winner to begin pre-season training with a club. Fox Sports have shot similar shows in recent years, including for soccer and cricket.
Both have Canberra links.
The ACT's Luke Pilkington won the second season of Football Superstar in 2009 and earned an A-League contract with the Melbourne Victory.
Cricket Superstar was aired in 2012.
One of the finalists, Chris Chellew from WA, joined the ACT Comets and now plays club cricket in Canberra.
The Raiders have locked away several of their young stars in recent weeks.
Shaun Fensom, Jack Wighton, Joel Edwards and Shannon Boyd, along with experienced prop Dane Tilse, have all agreed to new deals.
The Raiders are still hoping star fullback Anthony Milford changes his mind about joining the Brisbane Broncos next season and stays in Canberra.