Living The Dream
The NSW u-20s players are a collective bunch of eventual NRL-hopefuls that have dominated the National Youth Competition this season, but perhaps no future shines brighter than St George Illawarra Dragons’ live wire fullback, Matt Dufty.
He has scored 15 tries this season and has set up 15 more, and just last Monday he scored a hat-trick within a 15-minute period late in the game against the Manly Sea Eagles.
Dufty represented the NSW u-18s side in 2014 that downed Queensland 24-10, and sat proudly on the scoresheet with a scintillating two-try performance alongside current established NRL stars, including Tom Trbojevic, Latrell Mitchell and Jackson Hastings.
“Under-18s was my first NSW representative team experience,” Dufty tells NSWRL.com.au.
“We won 24-10 and it was nothing like I’ve ever played before, there was a massive crowd in the second half and I was overwhelmed, it’s an experience I’ll never forget.
“Running out this Wednesday and playing before Origin will be something special.”
That NSW u-18s experience has Dufty hungry to do it all again next Wednesday at ANZ Stadium, and believes the players have positively connected despite only being in camp for 24-hours.
He also thrives learning under State of Origin greats, including head coach Dean Pay, and former Australian, NSW and Balmain legend, Paul Sironen.
“It’s good to get into camp, get to meet all the boys and start to gel as a team,” Dufty said.
“I’ve spent time with some of these boys in other junior representative teams, but it’s been good to get to know the boys that I didn’t know and bond as a team before Wednesday.”
“[The Origin legends] are good to get to know because they just love the old school Origin which is running hard, hitting hard and just putting your body on the line.
“It’s good to get their perspective.”
The Penshurst RSL junior was a childhood prodigy, leading his side to three consecutive Grand Finals in his younger days while consistently scoring and setting up a freakish amount of tries whilst doing so.
A current Penshurst representative says that he helps out at the club whenever possible, a credit to whom he is off the field.
His primary focus is on the Dragons u-20s at the moment, doing his best to lead a team that won their tenth game of the season last week, and if he continues his amazing form, doors will open for future personal goals being achieved.
“This is my third season in the u-20s, we’re really starting to gel and we’re up in fourth position at the moment.”
“To make this team was one of my short-term goals for the season, which I’ve achieved now.
“My next goal will be to play NRL.”