Faulconbridge lock Jarrod Hackney has made the cut in the under 16s Penrith Panthers squad contesting the Harold Matthews Cup.
The 15-year-old has been through a rigorous selection process and was excited to make the final team, which will take on the Balmain Tigers in round one on February 10.
Talent scouts will be scrutising the games, and Jarrod is hoping to be noticed. Just a month ago he was approached by Joe Nakat to act as his manager and train him, with the goal of securing an NRL contract.
“My goal two years ago was to make Harold Matthews. It’s just the beginning – I want to stand out in competition,” Jarrod said.
He admires Jarryd Hayne, and described the young Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary as “inspiring.”
Jarrod has played rugby league for five years, first with Lower Mountains, then Glenmore Park and now Emu Plains. He’s been in Penrith development squads since under 13s.
“They like my involvement, the way I support players, my footwork and intensity in defence and my work ethic on the field,” he said.
The younger brother of rising cricket sensation Ryan Hackney, Jarrod also played cricket and soccer, before choosing to focus on rugby league.
A former St Columba’s Catholic College student, this year he’s transferred to McCarthy Catholic College to take up carpentry.