Two Cootamundra teenagers have secured opportunities to bust into the big league.
Zac and Ben Rumble have signed with NRL club the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs until 2021.
For Zac, it means a chance to play in the SG Ball Cup next year, while Ben will be working with the club as they develop junior talent.
The brothers both started playing in the under 6s and have played in the blue and white for the last five years.
Zac was selected for the Riverina representative team last year and this season was selected to represent Country NSW in October.
“Playing with the Riverina Bulls last year and this year definitely got me noticed,” Zac said.
“It’s a great opportunity, I’ve signed for four years, so I can move through the under 18s and the 20s and NSW Cup, and hopefully one day, play first grade.”
While he’s got his heart set on his goal of playing NRL, Zac knows it’s only the start of a long journey.
“It’s in reach. If I follow the plan and work hard it can happen,” he said.
As well as representative duties, Zac has been playing with Cootamundra’s under 18s side and said having a former NRL player leading the club’s first grade was beneficial.
“Just having Glen Buttriss here has made me realise that it’s possible for it to happen,” Zac said.
“He’s been a good bloke to have around the club and he’s helped develop my skills and the club’s teams.”
Zac, who turns 17 later this year, will move to Sydney in November and will start training with the under 20s.
He’ll have a few fitness goals to reach before the next season begins.
“It’s a bit nerve wracking, I’m moving away from home, Coota is a great place to live,” he said.
While he’s sad to be leaving his friend and family at home – he’s planning to get back Cootamundra as often as possible.
Zac said he owed thanks to the Cootamundra club for their support.
“They have helped tremendously with my game and enjoying the game in general,” he said.
“And I couldn’t have done it without my parents – they’re my foundation, they’ve done a lot of me and they’ve always been there.”
Like his brother, Ben started playing league in the under 6s and has played with Cootamundra for five years.
Part of the under 15s team, he made the Western Combined Catholic Colleges team and was picked out by the Bulldogs as an emerging player.
Ben’s contract means the Bulldogs have the first choice to enlist his services until 2021 and he’ll be closely following an intense training and fitness program at home.
While he’s excited to sign with the Bulldogs and the opportunity it presents, he’s just as keen to ensure the Cootamundra’s under 15s make the grand final this year.