Five words encapsulate the excitement Quirindi’s Alek Hall feels as an NRL dream that began years ago became even realer.
“I live for rugby league,” the 17-year-old prop-cum-lock said on Thursday at morning recess at Farrer, where he is in Year 11.
He had responded to his fledgling relationship with the Newcastle Knights continuing after he was named in their under-18 summer development squad. He will be joined in Newcastle by fellow Farrer student Max Altus.
More than 250 players aged 16 to 20 took part in a trial for the chance to be involved in the Knights’ junior development system.
Training will commence on November 3, and the players will take part in two trials – against the Balmain Tigers on December 6 and the Manly Sea Eagles on January 17.
After the trials, the squad will be reduced to 25 for the NSW Rugby League competition commencing February 14, where the team will play nine rounds and a finals series.
Hall and Altus, of Coonamble, toured Samoa last year in the Country-16 side.
Altus also made the Country under-18 side who toured New Zealand in July.
Hall’s association with the Knights began in October last year when he successfully trialled for a spot in the club’s under-17 development squad and captained the side in games against Canberra and Cronulla during the Christmas break.
He said the confidence the Knights had shown in him had boosted his confidence.
“It gives me a lot of hope and it gives me a lot of confidence with my ability with football and all that,” he said.
“So it sort of shines a bit of light on my future with rugby league.”
Hall knows what he has to do.
“Just put in the hard work. Just train, just think about it,” he said. “If I really want it that bad, I’ll train harder. If I want it, I’ll work for it … I’ve got to work harder than the bloke next to me.”