KC Edmonds believes that he has taken a detour en route to achieving his rugby league dream.
And while the unpredictability and harshness of life often results in detours becoming dead ends, the 19-year-old is optimistic he will still play in the NRL.
As Gunnedah prepare for their top-of-the-table clash against the Roosters at Kootingal on Saturday, the Bulldogs forward has spoken about his desire to return to an NRL club, after spending several seasons within the Knights’ youth system.
He said he had the option of returning to the Knights, whom he last played for in 2016 in their under-18 side, before shoulder surgery resulted in him heading home to Inverell and playing for Warialda last year.
Work and Gunnedah coach Sean Hayne’s “reputation” brought him to the Bulldogs this season.
“I can go back to Newcastle if I like, but there are other options and stuff out there,” he said.
“I had my operation, and I was away [from home] since I was 16,” he added. “So I sort of got a bit homesick as well.”
Edmond said it was “good taking time off city life and that sort of stuff”.
“[I’m] having a bit of fun playing club footy,” he said.
The Bulldogs-Roosters clash will feature the competition’s best attacking side and its best defensive side after five rounds.
In five games, Gunnedah have scored 224 points, while Kootingal-Moonbi have allowed just 76 points in the four games they have played.
The match will also feature two of the competition’s best young talents, Kooty fullback Mitch Doring and Gunnedah No.1 Dylan Lake.
“Dylan is a real dangerman,” Roosters coach Geoff Sharpe said.
“I’ve put the challenge to Mitch to match him on Saturday.
“They are outstanding fullbacks. [It] should be worth the price of admission alone to see them play.
“Mitch has freshened up after a rep season where he played a couple of back-to-back games. He had a really good game against Dungowan.”
Meanwhile, Boggabri might be at the bottom of the table but just need luck to ignite their season, Roos coach Shane Rampling has said.
The Roos host North Tamworth on Sunday.
Against Gunnedah last Saturday, the Roos lost 48-34. But they gave the home side a stern test despite having their captain and halfback, Kyle Gallen, sent off in the 54th minute.
“We just need a little luck,” Rampling said.
“I feel for our boys. They are trying so hard. They are improving every week.”
Rampling said the Roos “played the better football” at times against Gunnedah.
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