TAYE Cochrane doesn't really care what position he plays when he runs out for Country under 18s in the representative rugby league clash with City on Saturday at 4 Pines Park, Brookvale.
"I'm keen as,'' he said about the game.
"I'd probably like to play fullback. But I don't care, they might even use me as a utility.''
Cochrane spoke to the Times earlier this week, just before he headed to Sydney to go into camp with the Country squad. At that stage the run-on side hadn't been announced.
Cochrane is the Manning River Times-Iguana Sportstar of the Week, earning a $50 open order at Iguana.
He gained selection in the Country squad following the Country Championships, where he was a member of the North Coast Bulldogs side beaten in the final by Illawarra-South Coast Dragons. During the championship Cochrane played halfback, five-eighth and fullback.
He thought he played 'alright' during the championship but he wasn't expecting to get a Country call.
"I was shocked when they rang and told me I was in,'' he admitted.
Cochrane hopes the game will be a pathway to getting a start with an NRL club.
"There'll be scouts watching the game,'' he reasoned.
"So hopefully I can go alright.''
Playing NRL is his ambition. He doesn't really have a preference for any club.
Cochrane was invited to train with West Tigers SG Ball (under 19) squad during the pre-season and enjoyed the experience. Now he wants more. He turns 18 this year so will still be eligible for Ball in 2023. The Tigers could still be an option although nothing has been signed.
Cochrane will leave the negotiations with his manager.
He's been playing league since he was six, initially with Taree Panthers before he switched to the Old Bar Pirates in 2018. He graduated to under 18s last year with the Pirates.
"We were having a really good year, then the comp was called off,'' he said.
Cochrane's sure the Pirates will be thereabouts this season but he admits the delays in getting a game caused by wet weather and closed fields is frustrating. He'll miss Old Bar's scheduled game this weekend against Port City due to the representative encounter.
"We have a few new players this year and we should go okay,'' he said.
Cochrane's dabbled a bit in basketball with the Taree PCYC and even had the opportunity to play in New Zealand a couple of years ago before the pandemic put an end to plans. He also has a run in touch football, but said league is his main priority.
There could be a close relative in the stands watching him go around on Saturday, especially as the game is a Brookvale, home base for the Manly Sea Eagles.
His uncle Mal Cochrane, had a long and successful career with the Sea Eagles and still lives in the area.
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