Taking a huge leap
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
TAKING the big leap into Sydney's top rugby competition is a daunting task for anyone but for Coffs Harbour's young flyhalf Hugh Campbell, the move to Warringah is something that he'll be taking in his stride when he leaves for the big smoke this weekend.
"I'm very excited, I can't wait to get there and just to play consistently week in and week out against good competition," he said as he prepared for his move to the Northern Beaches.
"I'm also looking forward to playing against people my own age as well as getting a gauge on what the competition is really like."
The 18 year-old has been a permanent fixture in Coffs Harbour's first grade team for two years and it was with the help of Northern NSW Rugby co-ordinator Murray Archibald that saw Campbell given the opportunity to play in the Colts team this season with the Rats.
"The North Coast Academy of Sport is connected with Warringah and I think Murray who I've known for a while through footy said something to one of the guys from Warringah," Campbell explained.
"They came up for a NCAS training camp which I wasn't involved in but they stayed up for a week and watched some of the games and it took off from there."
The talented sportsman has been shining through his teenage years in both rugby and cricket and it was as a cricketer that most people expected Campbell to make a sporting future for himself.
This meant that playing rugby in Sydney was never a large goal for the precocious talent but his development over the past two years in his winter pastime meant that a future as a footballer suddenly came onto his radar.
"I'm very surprised to be playing there, I never wanted to go to Sydney, I hate Sydney but it's what I have to do," he admitted.
"I probably would've more looked to go to Brisbane for cricket probably but this opportunity came up first so I'll take it. I've got a chance so I'll run with it."
Campbell will have some help settling into life among the bright lights as he's been given a leg-up into a role doing some landscape gardening which should help him maintain the already high levels of fitness that Campbell works hard to achieve.
The Sydney bound teenager knows that if he's going to succeed at the higher level then he has to make sure that he raises the bar as far as hard work is concerned and it's something that he's prepared for.
"Flyhalf's where I want to play but they had two good five-eighths last year in first and second grade so I'll have to work hard to get it if I want it."