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Magpies flyer Mam thriving at Broncos this NRL pre-season

It’s a childhood promise that’s helping push exciting half Ezra Mam through the challenges thrown his way during his first NRL pre-season with the Brisbane Broncos.

The 2021 Intrust Super Cup Rookie of the Year was rewarded for his breakout season with Souths Logan Magpies by signing a contract extension that will keep him at the Broncos until 2024, and a spot in the Broncos' top-30 squad - something he promised his grandparents he would achieve if ever given the chance.

“It’s my first big contract... it was very emotional as I have always wanted to stay at the club... it was my grandparents' club, they barracked for them and they always said 'we want you to debut at the club if you get the chance'," the former Ambrose Treacy College student said.

Mam at Broncos pre-season training. Photo: Jorja Brinums/QRL
Mam at Broncos pre-season training. Photo: Jorja Brinums/QRL

“I have held that promise to this day and I use that as motivation to get through pre-season and hopefully onto better things next year.

“My two grandparents basically raised me from since I was born and they looked after me and took me everywhere and once they got sicker, my dad sort of took over and showed me the ropes.

“My dad’s partner actually taught me how to tackle because I was actually always scared to tackle as a kid. She was like 'you just throw yourself at my legs' and we used to call it 'two pillows and go to bed', just cheek-to-cheek and then swing around and pretend I was going to sleep... that was how I learnt to tackle as a kid in the end."

Destiny Brill and Ezra Mam are players of the future

A former Under 16 Emerging Origin squad member, Mam was a late call-up to make his Cup debut against the Central Queensland Capras in Round 8, but immediately made his mark, setting up a try and scoring a hat-trick during the 34-20 win.

“I was playing footy week to week in Cup and wasn’t expecting anything to really happen, but I base myself on challenges, so the harder stuff gets, the better I perform and then I started playing good footy and that led to an extension on that contract,” the Goodna Eagles junior said.

Despite his rapid rise through the ranks, the 18-year-old hasn’t had to do it all alone, with his close-knit family always not too far away watching on.

“They never really missed a game, even when I played away games like my Under 20s debut up in Cairns, my dad couldn’t come watch the game but my mum lives up in the islands so she booked a flight and met me in Cairns for when I made my debut," Mam said.

“I always had support there for me even if it was aunties or uncles from certain areas, my family is just big on rugby league."

Mam, who scored 13 tries during 11 Cup games for the Magpies in 2021, is embracing the challenges thrown his way and has had to adjust to the pressures and demands that come with a full NRL pre-season.

Mam scoring for the Magpies. Photo: Vanessa Hafner/QRL
Mam scoring for the Magpies. Photo: Vanessa Hafner/QRL

“It’s been a big challenge this first pre-season... the fitness is pretty challenging but the gym stuff has gone up another level from when I was training in the Broncos academy," Mam said. 

"Three weeks in and I’m feeling stronger, my base is feeling good, I’m keeping my weight as well so that’s a pretty great starting point for me heading into next year."

Mam, who has been part of the Broncos development program since a young age, will join fellow young guns like Selwyn Cobbo and TC Robati in the top-30 squad this season and has embraced the opportunity to learn from one the game's best playmakers in Adam Reynolds.

“Even having Adam Reynolds there, like man, he’s just a freak and having him at training is crazy... so yeah my goal is to learn as much as I can from this pre-season and keep trying to improve my game," Mam said.

“When I’m walking off the field after a session, I look at everyone walking off the field with me and I’m like 'woah'... it sort of brings back flashbacks as watching football as a kid.

"I’m this close and my dream is really here, I just gotta keep working hard.

“Adapting to a full NRL structure has been pretty hectic but the boys have welcomed me really well into the side and while at first I was really quiet, now I’m starting to become myself and I feel at home."