To kick off 2017, we take a look at some of the up-and-coming male and female stars who will hope to represent NSW this year and in the future. Today we look at a workhorse in the NSW and Roosters' under-20s sides: Nat Butcher.
With a breakout Holden Cup season and an outstanding performance for the NSW Under-20 side, Nat Butcher is one to keep an eye on for future seasons.
Butcher, whose father Blake played 23 first grade games for the Rabbitohs from 1989-93, was also brought through the South Sydney system. Playing junior representative football for the club, he was named their Harold Matthews Player of the Year in 2013 and was seen as one of their brightest prospects. A controversial move to arch rivals the Roosters in 2015, however, has seen him progress to one of the country’s standout rookies.
The 19-year-old was one of the best in the NYC this season, averaging a huge 188.5 metres and 43 tackles a game as he took the tricolours to a maiden Holden Cup title. He was rewarded with NSW selection for the Origin III curtain-raiser, where the lock made 141 metres and 35 tackles alongside a line-break assist and three offloads. As the NRL Roosters were destined to miss out on finals football this year, Butcher was handed his first grade debut in the final game of the year, where the side would lose 24-14 to the Broncos.
With both a Grand Final ring and the 2016 RLPA NYC Player of the Year to his name, Butcher has already achieved as much as any 19-year-old could hope for. With those achievements, of course, come greater expectation and it will be interesting to see how Butcher goes about securing more NRL appearances next season.