Lee ready for league big time
THERE has been a big buzz surrounding young rugby league player Brandon Lee for quite a while.
Word has been circulating for years about the precocious youngster coming up through the under-age ranks at Coffs Harbour Comets, particularly after Brisbane Broncos signed him up when barely into his teens.
And while attempts have been made to keep the now Year 11 student out of the spotlight during those important growing up years, that won’t be so easy any more.
Fully contracted to the Broncos, a Queensland state under-16 representative, and preparing for senior football with his home club, Brandon is impressing the hardest of markers, not just for the natural sporting ability that he is undoubtedly blessed with but for the maturity apparent in somebody so young.
It seems everybody who has had anything to do with Brandon remarks as much about his modest attitude as his athleticism, and it is evident the feeling is reciprocated.
“I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve received from the Broncos and so many other people,” Brandon said.
“Sometimes it becomes pretty full-on trying to manage school, footy and part-time work, but when I’ve needed it, people have always been there to lend support.”
Brandon is in Canberra this week participating in the Australian Institute of Sport’s rugby league program and trialling for a berth in an Australian team booked to tour England and France at the end of 2011.
Also next year he will play under-18s with Coffs Harbour, participate in the Mal Meninga Cup with the Broncos via Redcliffe Dolphins, complete studies for the HSC, and continue pre-apprenticeship training as a plumber with former Comets halfback Barry Smith.
It’s a huge undertaking at this stage of his life but this is one young man with his feet firmly on the ground.
“My one aim is to make it into the Broncos’ National Youth Cup team on a week-in week-out basis and then see what happens,” he said.
“As far as playing first grade with Coffs or Brisbane goes, I don’t want to rush things too much, as I’ve got time to get it all right.”
Father, Peter, who coached his Comets under-16 side to the Group 2 Beautizone championship, believes without the enormous support of the Broncos things would have been a lot harder.
“In fact, they treat him so well the rest of the family do it tough,” Peter laughed.
“There was the time they flew Brandon up to Brisbane for a game, while down at ground level dad and mum and his little brother were just plugging along in the car. But seriously, all his travel expenses, air fares, uniforms, everything gets taken care of and we don’t have to worry about a thing.
“Head coach Ivan Henjak has always kept an open ear for him and when he was having problems handling the school work, a member of staff from the club’s welfare department drove down to Coffs to sit down and discuss a plan to stay organised.
“As parents we couldn’t ask for more and have enormous respect for the Broncos and what they are doing for Brandon,” Peter said.
“Sometimes it becomes pretty full-on trying to manage school, footy and part-time work but when I’ve needed it, people have always been there to lend support.”