NRL teams sign our rising stars
IT'S not everyday that a Whitsunday rugby league player is signed by a club in the NRL.
But in the past two months, two local aspiring rugby league players have had their childhood dreams full-filled.
14-year-old Shane Wright recently signed with the Manly Sea Eagles while 17-year-old Rhyse Martin has signed with the Sydney Roosters.
Shane, who captained the under-14 North Queensland side earlier this year, was approached by three clubs who were all interested in signing the youngster.
He was first contacted by the North Queensland Cowboys before the Sydney Roosters and Manly Sea Eagles came into the hunt.
The modest teenager said that he was simply overwhelmed with the offers.
“I thought it was a joke,” he said.
“When he (a Manly official) came up to me I thought ‘are you joking?'
“It's pretty exciting though.”
The classy five-eighth has since signed a three year deal with the Sydney-based Sea Eagles and will take part in the clubs annual junior development camps.
Although Shane doesn't have to relocate to Sydney's northern beaches, he already has his eyes set on impressing the club.
“I guess I was doing something right with my footy,” he said.
“I've just got to keep improving and keep my mind focussed to league and keep getting better.”
Shane's proud mother Catherine said that she always knew that her son was capable of excelling in sport.
“I knew he could do whatever he wanted after he made the 2008 state cricket team,” she said.
“I never ever doubted him.”
Joining Shane in fulfilling his dream is former Whitsunday Brahmans junior Rhyse Martin.
Rhyse relocated to Townsville three years ago to be part of the rugby league excellence program at Kirwan State High School.
This move appears to have paid off dramatically, with the robust centre being signed by the Sydney Roosters under 20 NYC team on a three year deal.
“I was really excited and it's what I've wanted my whole life,” Rhyse said after he was approached by the Roosters.
“I always tried my hardest but I never thought about it.
“My dream is still to play in the NRL.”
At the end of the year, Rhyse must relocate to Sydney where he will begin training with the Roosters alongside his idol, Nate Myles.
“I'm excited about the challenge,” he said.
“He (Myles) is just tough and is passionate for the game.”