TALK about grabbing an opportunity with both hands. Coolum product Joseph Hawkins jumped at the chance to train with Manly’s under-20 squad, and it’s paid off.
The Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles Colt has been signed by the NRL club to play in the National Youth Competition this year.
After trialling with Manly against the Rabbitohs two weeks ago, Hawkins was asked to return and play against Cronulla last Friday.
The burly second-rower impressed youth coach David Penna again and the 19-year-old is now on his way to NSW for a stint with the Silvertails.
Hawkins said he gave everything he had in the trials, and his commitment had paid dividends.
“It went really good. I did everything right and the coach liked how I went so he’s asked me back,” he said yesterday.
“I’m heading down this weekend to live for the year. It’s going to be a great opportunity.”
Two weeks ago Hawkins was preparing for another year in the FOGS Colts Cup.
Now the Coolum junior is getting ready to train with a squad that made it to within a whisker of last year’s NYC premiership.
Hawkins said landing a NYC contract was the last thing on his mind a fortnight ago.
“I absolutely didn’t think about it. I was really stoked with Justin (Veivers, Sunshine Coast chief) for just getting me this opportunity,” he said.
“The off-season training has been pretty intense and that’s helped me get in shape for these matches.
“That’s obviously shown on the weekend and helped me land this.”
Hawkins has been playing in the FOGS Colts under-20 competition for the past three years and said he was hoping to crack the top 17 come round 1 of the NYC.
“I firstly just want to make the top 17. I want to be playing by the first round,” he said.
“That’s my main goal. After that I’ll see how I’m going.
“I’d like to gain a bit of weight but I’m happy where I’m at because my fitness level is really good for what I’m weighing.
“I’ve been playing Colts for a while and I think that will help me make the step up.”