Erindale College is breaking new ground to find the next NRL star, recruiting players from non-traditional rugby league breeding grounds to bolster their ranks and foster future talent.
The move to recruit players from Darwin, Perth and Adelaide has paid immediate dividends, with the Erindale under-18s team winning a Nines tournament in Canberra on Wednesday.
Coach Matt Adams has been looking out for talent for the past two years, scouting the best players at the national junior championships and offering them a spot at Erindale.
For 16-year-old lock Elijah Simpson, it meant moving away from his family in Darwin to Canberra where he hopes he can launch his NRL dreams.
Erindale now boasts four players - Simpson (Darwin), Harry Leddy and Todd Jamison (Perth) and Tyler Black (Adelaide) - who have relocated to chase their rugby league goals.
"It's been a bit tough the first couple of weeks, but I'm starting to settle in," Simpson said.
"I wanted to further my career and education. I wanted to get out of Darwin to further my chances of getting somewhere in rugby league.
"It's hard to get into it up there [in Darwin]. Most guys play Aussie rules and Canberra's a bit of a stepping stone for me. Once you hit the age of 15 you've got to make a choice between sports. I chose rugby league."
Erindale beat Illawarra Sports High 15-11 in the final to claim back-to-back Nines titles in the competition's second year, with 10 teams from around Canberra and NSW fighting for the trophy.
Erindale was undefeated in six games and Adams believes their interstate recruiting will help lift the level of rugby league in Canberra.
Halfback Leddy moved to Canberra last year and has been promoted to captain, while Black and Jamison are finding their feet in the school side.
The NRL is trying to push into new markets, with teams shifting regular season games to Darwin and Perth with the aim of rugby league becoming a truly national sport.
But the failed franchises of the Western Reds and Adelaide Rams have left holes in pathways for juniors outside of traditional breeding grounds in NSW and Queensland.
"It's slowly happening, guys are starting to get into rugby league from different areas and they're not too far off the mark," Adams said.
"A lot of it is just giving them some exposure. The boys just love all their mates who play rugby league as well, but back in Darwin or Perth, half play AFL and the rest play something different.
"I think we can tap into that market. All of the kids have put in the money to relocate themselves and hopefully get the rewards."