IF you want to make a bet on the next Coffs Coast product to go on to be a major sporting star, put your money on Phillip Hughes.
Aged just 20, Hughes appears to be on an inevitable path into Australia's cricket team.
He has been playing first-class cricket for only 12 months but his feats are already being compared to some of the country's best players in their early years.
Hughes hails from Macksville and made a name for himself on local pitches from an early age.
Advocate sports writer Brad Greenshields recalls playing against Hughes in a local first-grade grand final and being lost for a way to dismiss the pint-sized left-hander. Hughes was just 15 at the time.
This week, Hughes edged past a record of the incomparable Don Bradman while starring for New South Wales against Tasmania. By scoring 201 of NSW's 345 runs in the match, Hughes contributed 58.3 per cent of the total, 0.1 more than the mark set by Bradman in the 1939/40 season.
Comparisons with Bradman have been a curse to a number of cricketers over the years and no-one should get so carried away about Hughes, but he is a special talent and it will be fascinating for local cricket fans to see how his career pans out.