While most students are enjoying the winter holiday, a 15-year-old Parkes boy has taken a big step in realising his dream of playing professional rugby league one day. Red Bend Catholic College student Finnley Neilsen was selected in the NSW CCC Country Rugby League U/15 side in May at the State Championships in St Marys.
This week Finnley and his team attended the famous heritage Edmund Rice Retreat at Mulgoa in Penrith from Monday for intensive training and playing. On Tuesday they travelled to play Canterbury Bankstown at Peter Moore Oval in Belmore, and on Thursday they played Illawarra at Wollongong.
Today, Friday the 13th, the highlight of the week takes place when the team plays Penrith in the curtain raiser for the Penrith vs Cronulla game at Penrith Park.
“Finnley was very excited to be selected in the team,” said his grandfather and big supporter, Ray Neilsen. He said friends and relatives from Parkes would be in the stands at Penrith Park to cheer him on today.
“We are all very proud of him,” said Ray.
While the week’s camp concludes tomorrow, Finnley will still not be taking a break during the second week of the holiday. He was invited by the Penrith Panthers to spend a week of training at their academy to further enhance his league career. The Academy is a $22 million state-of-the-art facility located behind Panthers Leagues Club in Penrith, and is a fulltime training and development facility for the Panthers’ senior and junior squads.