To be selected to represent the Northern Territory is something many rugby union players can only dream of, but for Katherine's Joshua King, Kyle Bader and Michael Skerrett, it's their reality.
With each having started to play union a couple of years ago after many years with rugby league, the trio are feeling 'proud' ahead of their under 16s NT representative gig for the 2021 Queensland Rugby Teenage Boys State Championships.
With Joshua and Kyle having represented the state in previous years, they're expecting to use knowledge and experience to their advantage.
"I have represented NT for rugby league. From that experience, I know and understand that it's the next level and I'm keen to put my body on the line for the NT and my teammates," Kyle said.
"I have played at this level a few times and I would expect the competition to be better each year," Joshua added.
As for Michael, with the QLD State Championships being his first representative quest, he's hoping to stand out in an effort to continue to progress.
"I am expecting it to be tough but I'm ready for the challenge. I'm proud to have the opportunity to represent my state at this level," he said.
"It's definitely a stepping stone to building new skills. It will also help me to be recognised by scouts to go the next step further."
Less than a month out from the championships, the boys said they are feeling confident and eager to show what those in remote areas are capable of on the field.
"I'm excited to show what Katherine boys can do and want to get my name out there for future opportunities, and to show I can handle anything they throw at me," Kyle said.
"I'm feeling excited to show what I'm capable of and ready for the challenge," Michael said.
"I feel alright heading into the competition as I have played a full season of schoolboy rugby and am quite fit at the moment," Joshua added.
"I have been trying to improve my skills in case something in the future presents itself."
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Reflecting on their time with the game, the trio discovered what it is they love the most about rugby.
"I love the physicality," Joshua said.
"I love the mateship and comradery of the sport as I know my team always has my back. It also brings communities together and is how you make long life friends," Michael said.
"I love everything about the game," Kyle added.
The 2021 Queensland Rugby Teenage Boys State Championships will be held from July 2 to July 4 with games to be played at Toowoomba Downlands College.
"We would like to give a big shout out to Rod and Rifle, Car parts NT, R and M Motorcycles, Jo Hersey Member For Katherine, Katherine Mitre 10, Katherine Intersport, Muir and Sons, Laser Clinic Katherine, Katherine Rugby League and Katherine Speedway for their generosity and support," Kyle and Michael said.
"I would like to thank my parents without their support this never would have happened," Michael added.
"A big thank you to Jimmy King who has helped me develop and grow since I was four. Also a big thank you to my dad, Markus Bader who has pushed and supported me throughout the years to help me develop and grow as a player and a person," Kyle concluded.
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