How an extra 12 months helped a Hunter colt play his way into the NSW U18s side

Brendan Palmer was a skinny, quiet 17-year old when he played with Combined Catholic Colleges (CCC) at last year’s NSW Schoolboy trials.

While he gave it his all, he wasn’t quite ready just yet to match it with the best players in the state.

In years gone by, underage players, who finished school early or graduated as 17-year olds often missed their opportunity to push for higher honours.

But the NSW Country and Sydney pathway sides have changed that.

Under the new system, Palmer was able to play with NSW Country as an 18-year old at this year’s NSW Schoolboy trials, despite finishing school last year.

And those extra 12 months made a big difference. So much so, that after a season of colts with Hunter Wildfires in Newcastle, Palmer has been picked in the NSW U18s squad to play Queensland this weekend.

“I’m a very different player to this time last year,” the softly spoken and humble outside back told Rugby News.

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