For all of his life Wagga local Matt Lyons, 17, has dreamed of playing in the NRL.
To make that dream a reality, he’s moving to Canberra in a month, playing for the Raiders under 18s development squad.
The Raiders have been more than accommodating; offering to find him work.
Lyons has endured his fair share of setbacks.
He broke his ankle last year, rendering him unable to play, and in the Koori Knockout this year he damaged his PCL.
The leg brace will be off in time for the big move.
He has been affiliated with the Raiders since he was 15, and through his ankle injury, the club provided continued moral support, giving him great incentive to recover.
The second he was cleared to play, selectors were on the phone, offering him a position on a future squad.
“I was a bit concerned the dream might be over, but they stuck by me,” he said.
Lyons is among 10 players from across the Riverina to be selected in 2016 Raiders teams.
Lyons, Samual Bramich, Jake Walker, Tate Brooke, Jaimon King, Austin McDougall, Wayne Parker, Apitanga Uaafe Tongamoa, Daniel Dole and Zeik Foster made the cut.
Walker, 16, played for the Young Cherrypickers last season, and was named as runner up for the Under 18s Weissel Medal.
“I was pretty stoked, I didn’t think I’d get anywhere near it,” he said.
Country Rugby League region manager David Skinner said the Raiders’ interest in local players indicates a high standard of competition in the Riverina.
“It reflects what a good competition we have running down here,” Skinner said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.