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Saturday, 22 November 2014

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Whitehaven lend Serbian national side a helping hand

Whitehaven have offered a helping hand to the Serbian national team ahead of their European Cup campaign next month.

The Serbs have close ties to the area through their coach Ged Stokes, the Haven boss, and prop Soni Radovanovic, who switched to the Recre this year.

And the Serbian squad will be based at St Bees for a five-day training camp ahead of their first full-fledged Euro campaign.

“The club has been very supportive in terms of providing training venues and infrastructure,” Stokes said.

“Obviously, the tie-up with Serbia is quite strong, and it’s great that our local professional club is supporting an international side.”

Radovanovic is likely to be a key player for Serbia, who are looking at Super League stars such as Stefan Ratchford, of Salford, plus Simon Svabic, who has experience with a string of pro clubs in England.

The net is also being cast further afield, with Australian players contacted who have Serbian heritage. Those with Serbian grand-parents would be eligible to play.

“It’s a very, very worthwhile tournament, and a lot of work has gone in to the organistion of it,” Stokes added.

“It’s an opportunity for the game to expand.

“It will be a difficult learning curve in terms of what’s required, as this will be the first time Serbia has been involved against top echelon nations.

“It will be a tremendous challenge. But if we have thoughts about expanding the game, we have to give countries these experiences.”

  • Loose-forward Jamie Theoharous is to leave Whitehaven and return home to Australia.

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