Juniors that have impressed throughout the year will face off in the inaugural Queensland Under 16 City versus Queensland Under 16 Country match at Dolphin Stadium on Sunday.
One player ready to make a difference is Southport School Year 11 student Kaleb Ngamanu, who will be representing the Gold Coast region when he plays on the wing for the City side.
Kaleb currently plays for the Coomera Cutters where he has continued to improve as a player and flourish under the club that Kaleb said had really helped and supported him along his journey.
“They’re a fantastic club - they are very supportive and I love it there,” Kaleb said.
In 2018, Kaleb made the Under 15 South Coast QSSRL squad alongside the likes of fellow Gold Coast Titans-contracted player Brody Smitka, and after impressing throughout the carnival, he was then selected to represent the Queensland side at the Australian championships.
Unfortunately, he was unable to play that carnival due to injury, but Kaleb has continued his strong form into this year, earning himself selection in a number of representative sides including the South East Queensland Under 16 training squad and the Queensland Under 16 Emerging Origin squad.
With a large majority of the teams being based off the recent Junior State Championships on the Sunshine Coast, a sprained MCL saw Kaleb miss the carnival but still get selected for the City side thanks to strong performances at the Queensland Emerging Origin camp late last year.
Playing both league and union at school, Kaleb said he enjoyed going into camp with teammates as well as being able to represent his region on such a big stage.
“I love being able to represent my region, so it's lots of fun and I really enjoy it,” Kaleb said.
“Hopefully we all just have a strong bond heading into the game and we can play for each other out there."
The clash between City and Country is certainly going to be a fiery one, with plenty of anticipation and hype leading up to the match.
Despite the big crowd and even bigger occasion, Kaleb said he believed he was well equipped to handle the pressure.
“Playing rugby at school, we certainly get big crowds in matches against BBC and Nudgee, so while I might still get nervous, I’m sure I can handle the occasion,” Kaleb said.
While also working tirelessly off the field and behind the scenes, Kaleb credited his family’s support for the reason he now had the chance to gain invaluable experience this Sunday.
“My family have always been super supportive, always pushing me along the way," Kaleb said.
While admitting he might not have always been the most talented player growing up, Kaleb believes his hard work and determination off the field has played huge dividends for his game, as he continues to impress at a high level.
“I wasn’t always the best player growing up, I was always just trying to work my way through, but I always did my best and my hard work has helped me get to where I am now,” Kaleb said.
While all his focus may be on the upcoming clash against Country, Kaleb is certainly hoping he can continue to improve and build as a player.
“Whether it be playing NRL or even union in the future, I’m hoping to one day reach those goals," Kaleb said.
Match: QLD City U16 v QLD Country U16
Round 1 -
QLD City U16
QLD Country U16
Venue: Dolphin Stadium, Brisbane