WATCHING his North Coast Bulldogs under 18 team-mates go around in last year's Laurie Daley Cup (under 18) Country Championship rugby league side, but not getting any game time, frustrated front rower Oscar Holt.
"I wanted to get out there,'' he said. "So I was determined to get a place in the run-on side this year.''
He turned 17 at the end of 2021, so still had another year to go in 18s. Holt seized the opportunity when again selected in the Dogs 18s this season and played a leading role in North Coast's charge to the final.
North Coast lost 40-20 to Illawarra-South Coast Dragons, however Holt was named in the NSW Country under 18 team to play City at BlueBet Stadium in Penrith on Sunday, May 15. He is also the Manning River Times-Iguana Sportstar of the Week, earning a $50 open order at Iguana.
Standing 190cm tall and weighing 110kgs, Holt is the perfect build for a prop. He reasoned his form was good enough to be in the mix for Country selection.
"But it was still a shock when they told me I was picked,'' he said.
Now he's looking forward to tackling the Sydneysiders. Holt hopes this could lead to him being picked up by an NRL club. He said there have been overtures, although nothing concrete as yet.
He was selected in the Balmain Harold Matthews team when the competition was under 16s a couple of years back after attending trials, but opted not to play. "It would have been a big commitment, travelling to Sydney to train and play,'' he explained.
He started playing league in under nines, inspired by watching an NRL grand final.
"I just said to dad, I want to play. He said, 'okay then, off you go'. ''
Holt linked with Taree Panthers and was a member of Group Three's Country Championship winning under 14 and 15 teams under coach Doug Ferguson. He also had a brief stint with the Newcastle Knights under 15s.
North Coast went through the competition rounds in this year's Daley Cup undefeated. But rain upset preparations, with the side forced to train on synthetic surface fields at Coffs Harbour and at times on the beach.
However, Holt said this wasn't a factor in the final loss of Illawarra, admitting the Dragons were too good.
He's also looking forward to playing with Taree City under 18s and is confident the Bulls will be among the front runners this season, when it finally gets underway.
He mixes club training with three gym sessions a week and said rugby league is his sporting passion.
"I don't really play anything else,'' he said.
He finishes year 12 this year and aims to relocate to Sydney in 2023, where he hopes to be involved in an NRL club's system.
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