AFTER months of in-depth planning and fundraising, Huddersfield Giants’ historic Scholarship tour to Australia is under way.

The club’s Under 16s squad and coaching staff have now boarded a plane for the two-week trip Down Under as they prepare for what will be a challenging three-game schedule.

It is the first time in the club’s history a side has made a trip to the southern hemisphere, with Head of Youth Performance Damian McGrath believing it will prove of massive benefit for the club’s potential future Super League stars.

“There is a sense of relief that we have managed to get to this point and everybody has set off on the tour,” said McGrath.

“Everything is ready for the players at the other end and everyone is chomping at the bit to get out there and get started.

“There have been a lot of meetings and discussions to get everything fully prepared, but all the staff are happy with the preparations and delighted to be setting off.

“And the players are feeling excited and nervous at the same time.”

McGrath has also given an insight into the opening stages of the tour.

“The group fly into Sydney tomorrow after a long and gruelling journey, we have given them a day to get acclimatised and catch up on their sleep,” he added.

“The following day they go to Penrith Stadium to get their first taste of the NRL for their fixture against the Warriors, they will do a little bit of training and then head up to Forster on the central coast to prepare for the first game against a district select 13.”

With fixtures against the North Coast Select side as well as junior sides from famous Australian clubs Balmain Tigers and Manly Sea Eagles, McGrath anticipates the Giants will learn a great deal in facing off against their opponents.

“It will give them a chance to benchmark themselves against players from the No1 rugby league nation,” he continued.

“They are facing boys of their own age and are able to see how they measure up in their development.”