Hard work the reason why Woods’ Icely is made for next level

By MARK CASHMAN

In these days of academies and wider training groups, the story of the journey of Eastwood flanker Michael Icely to Super Rugby is both refreshing and educational.

The 24-year-old, who has picked a one-year deal with the Melbourne Rebels for next season, freely admits that “the rugby thing” wasn’t something that he thought would become a full time gig.

At that great rugby nursery, St Joseph’s College, Icely inhabited teams like the Under 15 Cs and Under 16 Es and only managed to force his way into the Fourth XV and the Third XV in his final year in the opens.

Tom Wright, now a four-Test Wallaby, Tom Horton, James Ramm, Tim Clements, Nick Duffy and Connor O’Shea were all further up the totem pole at Hunters Hill.