ORANGE City flanker Gus Brotherton won’t be getting ahead of himself after being labelled a potential National Rugby Championship (NRC) standard player.
The 2013 Blowes Clothing Cup player of the year is one of five Central West players identified by NSW Country Eagles coach Darren Coleman as capable of excelling in the newly formed second tier competition, which starts in late August.
Along with Dubbo Kangaroos pair Peter Nau and Filisone Pauta, Bathurst Bulldogs No.8 Hayden Tidswell and Parkes utility forward Dan Ryan, Brotherton could be given the opportunity to attend pre-season training sessions with the Eagles squad in a bid to secure an NRC contract.
“I’ve spoken to Jimmy (James Grant, Eagles general manager) about it a little bit, but it’s very early days,” Brotherton said.
“I think the idea of it would be to have us go down and train with potentially the (NSW) Waratahs, but more likely with (Shute Shield sides) Randwick or Eastern Suburbs, the Eagles’ feeder clubs.
“From what I know they would have a look and see where we’re at, and let us know what we can do to improve to be considered for the next level.”
Brotherton said he is champing at the bit to see how he stacks up against the Shute Shield players.
“It’s a huge opportunity, but as I said, it’s very early days,” he said.
“I won’t be getting ahead of myself, it’s just a great chance for me. It could open doors I guess, and I think I’d be silly to not be aiming for an NRC contract now.
“But, I need to just take it one step at a time and take it for what it is, a learning experience.”
Brotherton hailed the other four players named, before acknowledging progressing further could impact his season with the Lions.
“They all have the potential to play at that level,” he said.
“That’s the thing about the country, these guys are playing on natural talent. We’re all undeveloped in that sense.
“With some professional training who knows how far they could go. If it happens, I’m not sure I’d be able to finish the year with the Lions, and the same thing would happen for the other guys.
“But it’s silly to think about that when we’ve only been identified as having potential. I think we’ll all be taking it as it comes.”