Serbia internationals Stefan Nedeljkovic and Stevan Stevanovic have expressed their delight and gratitude at being welcomed by Super League giants Warrington Wolves.
The 22-year-olds have taken an active part in the Wolves’ first-team training sessions for the last two weeks to gain some top-level experience within a professional club environment.
The pair play for Belgrade-based Dorcol Spiders over in Serbia and both represent the national team. The youngsters are now hoping to pass on what they have learned to players back home.
Head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith says providing opportunities to players from emerging nations is an important part of developing the game of rugby league.
“It’s our way of helping some of the emerging nations develop. We’ve all got a responsibility to do that,” said the former Leeds Rhinos and Huddersfield Giants tactician.
“It’s not been a chore or too much of a sacrifice as these are two very ambitious young men who have paid for their own way over and are really keen to come over and play in this country. They’ve have been fantastic and a real pleasure to be around.
“They have done an inspirational job for themselves and for us; it’s been something a bit different within our training regime. They are real characters and fitted in really well. They are talented young boys and it’s been a pleasure having them on board.
“I don’t think they are ready for Super League level as players but certainly Championship or Championship One; I’d have no hesitation in saying they’d be asset to any club.”
Stevanovic added: “It has probably been the best two weeks of my life. It’s been like a dream come true…rugby league is a totally different sport over here from that in Serbia.
"It’s on a much higher level. It’s been a very good experience for us. I hope that next time we come that we will stay for longer.
“I have learned a lot watching super stars in Rugby League. I can see what they are doing on the field and can try to do that in my games in Serbia.
"We have a lot of young guys who listen to us and we can pass on this information and hopefully become better players.”
Nedeljkovic commented: “Super League is an outstanding level compared to Serbian Rugby League; in Serbia we have big, strong people and good individuals, as a team we couldn’t compare to Championship clubs. I feel I have learnt a lot but I know I still need to learn more.”