Serb international Stevanovic hails Wolves set-up

Stevan Stevanovic and Stefan Nedeljkovic are two young Serbs who have been training with Warrington Wolves this month.

The pair have also turned out for Woolston Rovers in the National Conference League, as they look to build their rugby league experience.

The pair play for Dorcol Spiders in their homeland, and Stevanovic, 22, believes that their trip to the North of England will have many positive benefits.

The pair have also enjoyed being part of what Stevanovic sees as the family atmosphere at Warrington.

“That’s a wonderful experience, like a dream come true for me and my friend,” he said.

“We came from Serbia to a Super League team, and these 20 days are the best days of our lives.

“It’s a big opportunity and chance to show what we can do, and maybe stay here longer than these 20 days.

“That is a great experience, and the best thing is the atmosphere here in Warrington, because all the staff, coaches and players are like one family.

“I think that is probably one of biggest reasons for why Warrington Wolves are one of the best clubs in the world.

“I’m really honoured to be here and training with these guys.”

The game of rugby league is progressing well in Serbia, with the national team consisting entirely of homegrown players, unlike Italy, one of their main European rivals.

“I think the national side is doing pretty well,” Stevanovic added.

“We play in the European Shield now. We are in a group with Russia, Italy and Ukraine.

“There is a small chance that however wins this group will go to the World Cup in 2017.

“I think Serbia have a chance to go to the World Cup if Italy don’t call up stars from the NRL and Super League to play for them.

“With Serbia, we don’t have any player who plays outside Serbia, and when people watch and Serbia play against Italy, they don’t know that.

“So we lost the last game, with about 10 points difference, and they didn’t understand that the players from Italy are paid for playing rugby.

“In Serbia it is an amateur sport, and we are giving our best, and think the Serbian national team is going in the right way.”

The sport was recently also give goverment backing in Serbia, with it now officially recognised by the sporting authorities there.

“That is a very big thing. The things that we learn here we can pass to young players in Serbia, and all the Serbian national team can be better in the future,” Stevanovic continued.

“Now we have about 20 clubs in three leagues. In the first we have four clubs, because these four clubs are the best in the country.

“They play four times against each other every year.

“We have young players who play junior league, and in the Serbian national team the average age is about 20 or 21, which is very young.

“That is the main thing, because Serbia can improve in the future.

“We will work hard and I hope that we can be in the World Cup.”

Wolves coach Tony Smith also feels that the pair have ample potential to play the game to at least a semi-professional standard.

“We had a request for a couple lads to come and experience somwhere in Super League with some training, and we responded,” Smith told SLTV.

“I had been to Serbia some years ago when I was England coach. I actually coached one of those young guys when he was about 18.

“We got them a run at Woolston last week, and although they were heavily defeated, I thought they were the two stand-out players on the field.

“I think they’re probably worth someone looking at them at a semi-professional level.”

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