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It was billed as a baptism of fire for English recruit Jack Mallinson.

The halfback, who only arrived in Australia last Tuesday, took the field for the Albury Thunder in their Round Eight match against Group 9 leaders, Gundagai at Greenfield Park on Sunday.

Still, the 20-year-old got straight to work, and after only two training sessions, Mallinson was impressive during his debut. He helped the Thunder to a 26-all draw with the unbeaten Tigers.

The Englishman enjoyed the experienced, but he admitted there was a slight adjustment period early in the contest.

“The game was a lot faster than I’m used to, and it took a few minutes to get adjusted, but other than that, it was good, and I really enjoyed it,” Mallinson said.

From Harrogate in North Yorkshire, Mallinson was playing for Hunslet in the Betfred League One competition in England, but he was quick to take up an opportunity offered by Brad Nicholson to join the Albury Thunder in the Group 9 competition.

“Brad Nicholson from the Thunder reached out and asked if I was interested in coming and it went from there,” Mallinson said.

“It has always been a dream of mine to come over here and play and when I got the opportunity, I took it, because it fitted well with what I was doing at the time.

“Plus, I wasn’t getting much game time in those last few weeks (with Hunslet), so it was the perfect time for me to come over and try it out.”

Mallinson and his partner have been welcomed by the Thunder family, and he was already feeling at home on the border.

“It was really good,” Mallinson said.

“They have helped with the move and everything around rugby and general life.

“They have found a place for us to live, and they got my partner and I a job and they welcomed me into the club, which was great.”

As far as what the future holds, Mallinson was only focusing on the season at hand.

“I will take it season-by-season, and I will just get to the end of this season and see how it is going and make an evaluation from there before I decide what I am doing next season,” he said.

Following Albury’s tense 26-all draw with the Tigers, the young playmaker believes the Thunder can go all the way in 2022, and he wasn’t willing to settle for anything less.

“I think, since we drew against the top team, and it was a game I think we should have won, then the main goal is to win the competition,” Mallinson said.

“With the team we have got; we have a great balance and some great players, and I don’t see why we can’t win the competition.”

Albury’s Round Eight draw with Gundagai moves them to fourth place on the 2022 Group 9 ladder, with the Thunder trailing Gundagai, Young and Temora.

They will now prepare for a Round Nine away match against the Wagga Brothers at McDonalds Park on Sunday.

Group 9 Round Eight results: Kangaroos defeated Brothers 22-14; Albury drew Gundagai 26-all; Temora defeated Southcity 36-6; Young and Tumut had byes.

Group 9 Round Nine draw: Tumut v Kangaroos at Twickenham; Gundagai v Temora at Anzac Park; Brothers v Albury at McDonalds Park; Southcity and Young have byes.

Group 9 ladder: Gundagai 15, Young 14, Temora 14, Albury 9, Tumut 8, Kangaroos 8, Brothers 8, Southcity 2.

Group 20 Round Nine results: Darlington Point-Coleambally defeated Yanco-Wamoon 36-6; Waratahs-Tigers defeated Tullibigeal-Lake Cargelligo 50-30; Leeton defeated Hay 50-nil; Black and Whites defeated West Wyalong 42-nil.

Group 20 Round 10 draw: Black and Whites v Leeton at EW Moore Oval; Tullibigeal-Lake Cargelligo v Darlington Point-Coleambally at Lake Cargelligo Recreation Oval; Yenda v West Wyalong at Wade Park; Yanco-Wamoon v Waratahs-Tigers at Yanco Sports Ground.

Group 20 ladder: Leeton 16, Darlington Point-Coleambally 16, Black and Whites 14, Waratahs-Tigers 10, West Wyalong 10, Yenda 8, Hay 6, Tullibigeal-Lake Cargelligo 4, Yanco-Wamoon 2.

Proten Cup Round Four results: Rankin Springs 26 defeated Barellan 10; Hillston 22 defeated Goolgowi 6; Ivanhoe 22 defeated Narrandera 18.

Proten Cup Round Five draw: Hillston v Narrandera; Rankin Springs v Ivanhoe; Goolgowi defeated Barellan. All games at Goolgowi Recreation Reserve.

Proten Cup ladder: Rankin Springs 6, Ivanhoe 6, Narrandera 4, Barellan 4, Hillston 2, Goolgowi 2

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.