State tri­als berth stuns teen

Jack­son heads to Townsville

Central and North Burnett Times - - BURNETT SPORT -

MUN­DUB­BERA teenager Darien Jack­son was stunned when he was named in the Dar­ling Downs Rugby Union un­der-18 rep­re­sen­ta­tive squad.

The 16-year-old was in­cluded in the team af­ter im­press­ing at the re­cent se­lec­tion tri­als.

Jack­son and his team­mates flew to Townsville yes­ter­day where they will rep­re­sent the Dar­ling Downs at the State Rugby Tri­als this week.

“I never thought for one minute that I would be play­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tive rugby union,” Jack­son said.

“I was so sur­prised when they called out my name at the end of the tri­als.”

Jack­son started his sport­ing ca­reer in soc­cer be­fore switch­ing to rugby league with the Cen­tral Bur­nett Brumbies in the un­der 10s.

He now plays full­back with Toowoomba Broth­ers in the un­der-18 Toowoomba rugby league com­pe­ti­tion but had been keen to try his hand at the 15-man game.

Darien Jack­son I was so sur­prised when they called out my name at the end of the tri­als.

“I have al­ways wanted to play pro­fes­sional foot­ball but I thought it would be in rugby league but if I do well in union, I will take that,” Jack­son said.

Jack­son’s mother, Tina Hartwig, said she was al­most phys­i­cally sick while watch­ing her son play against his older ri­vals in the un­der-18 com­pe­ti­tion.

“Th­ese guys are fully grown men in this grade and they are gi­ants com­pared to Darien,” she said.

“He has al­ways been the small­est in the team but now he is play­ing against boys who are not only big, they have ma­tured.”

Jack­son’s sport­ing prow­ess is not limited to the foot­ball field with the young flyer re­cently claim­ing the Dar­ling Downs cross coun­try cham­pi­onship, rock­et­ing home al­most one minute ahead of his near­est ri­val.

Mrs Hartwig said her son was determined to do his best no mat­ter what the chal­lenge.

“Darien said he ran as fast as he could with­out vom­it­ing,” she said.

“He said train­ing for foot­ball was why he was so fit and I know he would be putting in 100% ef­fort be­cause that is the only way he knows.”

Jack­son will be joined at the tri­als this week by for­mer Brumbies team­mate Me­tali Ju­nior Koula Hav­ili.

Hav­ili has been named in the Wide Bay squad to com­pete at the tri­als.

“I am so look­ing for­ward to play­ing with MJ again and I hope we both get picked for the Queens­land team,” Jack­son said.

“I would rather play on the same team as MJ rather than hav­ing to tackle him.”

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

ON TRIAL: Mun­dub­bera teenager Darien Jack­son has been named in the Dar­ling Downs U18 side that will com­pete at the State Rugby Tri­als in Townsville this week.

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