Brad?s hard work pays off
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
SAWTELL rugby league player Brad Wykes is pinching himself about the amount of good fortune that has come his way lately.
On Sunday, Wykes made his first grade debut for the Panthers, coming off the bench against Macleay Valley.
And not long before that, the Toormina High student was selected to represent the Greater Northern region in the Combined High Schools State Championships.
Wykes, 17, puts his good fortune down to hard work on the training track that has increased his fitness.
He was named in the Greater Northern team after the North Coast v Hunter representative match and the young prop admitted to being a little surprised at his selection.
"To be honest, I never thought I'd make it to the North Coast team, let alone get this far." he said.
"I didn't get a look in for the Group's under-18 team.
"Maybe I can play well and show 'em up a bit."
The championships will be held at Toronto for three days from May 23, and Wykes will be celebrating his 18th birthday while he is away.
The team will be playing matches against Sydney Metro Gold, Western Region and Southern Region.
Wykes is not the only local player in the squad.
Also selected are Nambucca Heads trio Jack Lhuede, Brent Pigrim and Greg Nichols, as well as Bellingen's Sean Fenson. Wykes' Sawtell teammate Dennis Gordon has been placed on standby for the squad.
After making his first grade debut on Sunday, Wykes couldn't contain his excitement about making the step up to play with the big boys.
"I loved it," he said.
"It's a bit faster and a bit harder than 18s for sure."
Now that Wykes has enjoyed a taste of first grade football, he can't wait to get another game.
"I was stoked to play today (Sunday), hopefully I can maybe get anoth- er game in the next few weeks."