CQ rugby league duo celebrate special win
RUGBY LEAGUE: Rockhampton's Brayden Duffy defied the odds to play a lead hand in the Queensland Murri under-16s stunning come-from-behind win in the indigenous interstate challenge.
The 15-year-old was in serious doubt after straining his adductor muscle at training four days before the game against the New South Wales Koori at Mudgee's Glen Willow Stadium.
Determined not to miss the chance to represent his state, Duffy embarked on an extensive rehabilitation program under the guidance of head trainer Ron Tasker.
The hard work paid off, with the talented centre coming off the bench to set up a try and score one of his own in the 28-20 victory.
Fellow Central Queenslander Jackson Warde was also part of the victorious Murri outfit, which claimed back-to-back titles for the first time in the history of the challenge.
Both boys, who were playing in the team for the first time, said it was a fantastic experience.
"I learned a lot of new things and met some good people,” said Warde, who hails from Gladstone but now attends The Cathedral College and plays with Rockhampton Brothers in the RDJRL competition.
"The game was very exciting. It was good to beat the Blues obviously but it was a good comeback as well.
"It was much faster, harder, tougher than a club game.”
Warde said another highlight was seeing his dad in the crowd after the game.
"He drove all the way from Gladstone to Mudgee to watch me play,” he said.
"I knew he was coming but it was just good to see him.”
Warde and Duffy have followed similar paths. Both started playing club footy in under-6, advancing through the ranks to now be part of the CQ Capras Elite Player Academy.
Duffy, who plays with the Norths Knights, rated his representative duty as a "10 out of 10”.
But he admitted that when he was struck down with injury it was a real low point.
"I knew I had a choice whether I wanted to play or not and I decided I wanted to,” he said.
"I had to undergo heaps of rehab for that to happen and Ron really helped me get that done. He was amazing.
"When I got out on the field I was nervous but I promised (coach) Keiron Lander that I'd come off if I did feel any pain.
"Once I was out there and running with the ball I think the adrenalin just kicked in and I didn't feel anything at all.”