NFL gets Aussie accent
With a record nine Australians on NFL rosters, those playing gridiron Down Under now have every reason to dream of making it in the US.
That is the message from University of New South Wales head coach and Australia Outback offensive coordinator Paul Manera.
Manera, a former University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors player, organised the university's senior offensive line coach and former NFL star Chris Naeole's trip to Sydney last week to search for talent.
Offensive lineman Blake Muir was someone who indeed dreamed big and benefited from Manera's connection with the Warriors' program.
Muir joined the San Francisco 49ers as a free agent last week, after starting his collegiate career with the Warriors before moving to Baylor University.
The giant 143kg, 198cm Sydney product soon could be blocking for former NRL star Jarryd Hayne on the 49ers' practice fields.
Manera said Muir had shown impressive development in the time he had known him.
"I met him as a 16-year-old when he was 102kg. Now he's 142kg. He's got great speed, athleticism and size," Manera told Australian Regional Media.
Warriors representatives have been so impressed with the talent potential in Australia, they have been paying their own expenses on scouting missions Down Under since 2010.
The senior team will be coming to Sydney's ANZ Stadium to play the University of California in the much-anticipated opening game of the 2016 college season on August 27.
"The University of Hawaii is really excited about the talent in Australia and it wants to come down every year, and get someone from Australia every year," Manera said.
Sydney teenager Max Hendrie should be a part of the Warriors squad that will come to his home city after joining the program earlier this year.
Manera -- whose Bring It On Sports company helps youngsters pursue sports scholarships in the US - helped former rugby winger Hendrie realise his dream after he crossed over to gridiron after standout efforts for Scots College.
Manera also played a big role in defensive lineman Adam Gotsis making history by becoming Australia's highest draft pick, taken by defending NFL champions the Denver Broncos at No.63 in last week's draft.
"I've still got the first message Adam sent me from seven years ago saying, 'Hey Paul can you help me?'" Manera said, adding the 23-year-old was expected to sign a seven-figure contract.
"So seeing him get drafted was fantastic.
"He's tall, has a big frame, moves well, has good feet, a good motor and plays at a high intensity.
"He's someone I thought 'Yes, he can play in the NFL'."