The Latin Heat have made another step forward in their development, with the Australian-based Latino club appointing Aaron Raper as head coach.
Raper, who played internationally for Australia and was a non-playing interchange for NSW in State of Origin, will lead the Latino outfit into their clash against a combined USA and Canada team on September 30, at St Mary’s, west of Sydney.
Raper is the son of Immortal Johnny Raper and the brother of Stuart Raper. He enjoyed an 11-year career, which saw him play over 150 games for Cronulla and Parramatta, as well as Castleford in England.
The Latin Heat offer a pathway into competitive rugby league for players either born in, or with parents or grandparents born in these nations: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela.
Over the last month, the Heat have also taken other steps forward, staging the first full international 13-a-side match between two Latin American nations – Chile and El Salvador – held at Newtown, Sydney.
Daniel Godinez was elected as the new Latin Heat president, taking charge of a more formalised committee.
There is also a growing likelihood of domestic players from Argentina, Brazil and Chile playing a three-way tournament in Miramar, Argentina in November.