31 May, 2023

Wolves junior seeks pathways to NRL

Cohen Cochran (pictured) has attracted interest from the National Rugby League (NRL) following his successful outing at the recent Queensland School Boys State Championship Carnival in Townsville.

Wolves junior seeks pathways to NRL - feature photo

Cohen, who captains the Stanley River Wolves U15 Div 1 team, represented Tullawong State High School as he played for the 14-15 Sunshine Coast regional team in the school-based carnival.

Having been approached by Dolphins NRL academy skills coach and one-time State of Origin player David Stagg at the carnival, Cohen later accepted an invitation to participate in the Dolphins’ 13-16 years academy.

Held several times on the Sunshine Coast each year, this invitation-only development program aims to develop players who are earmarked to play at NRL level some day.

The schoolboys carnival in northern Queensland was Cohen’s first taste of representative football, having begun his rugby league career with the Wolves at U7 level.

The Tullawong scholar gained his first representative honours after taking part in the district trials at Morayfield and Maroochydore, thanks largely to the support and encouragement from his school football teacher Jon Keal.

Cohen’s teammates at the carnival came from Redcliffe, Morayfield, Mount Creek, Caloundra and Sunshine Beach state secondary schools, and Immanuel Lutheran College.

Most of these players were among Cohen’s opponents in club football, and he got to know them while training with them every few weeks in the months leading up to the carnival.

The 14-15 Sunshine Coast regional team was defeated on each of the first three days, before winning convincingly on the fourth and final day.

Following a 28-16 loss to South Coast, the Sunshine Coast regional team went down 22-12 to Darling Downs and 34-12 to Peninsula, before beating Wide Bay 28-10.

Cohen played in his usual position of hooker, although he wore the number 14 jersey rather than number nine as the team had two players in the position.

The Tullawong teen said he was happy with how he played for the most part, having been awarded players’ player by his teammates on day one before being adjudged by game officials as player of the match on day three.

Cohen’s parents Jim and Bree attended the carnival along with Cohen’s brother James, who is also one of his coaches at the Wolves.

“Cohen says he really enjoyed the experience,” Jim and Bree said.

“He liked playing against the best of the best in his age level and he loved the atmosphere playing at a representative level.

“He says he just loved that he was playing footy.”

While the Tullawong teen has shown leadership and been well-respected by teammates, Jim and Bree said Cohen was his own biggest critic and “he knows when he has had a bad day”.

Jim and Bree said the weather was amazing, albeit hot and sunny, while the fields were in good condition.

“Spectators were well behaved, (and) officials were all supportive and approachable,” they said.

Jim and Bree said Cohen had been telling them since U7s that he would play representative football, and that he aspired to make it to the NRL.

Shorter in stature than most of his teammates until the past year or so, Cohen has spent a lot of his spare time at training to condition his body.

“His goal is always to improve his game and better himself on the field,” his parents said.

With Cohen having played in one representative team and been invited to the Dolphins’ 13-16 years academy, Jim and Bree said he sought selection in other representative teams to advance his NRL pursuits and prospects.


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