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Country second rower Zac Garton: 'Making this side is a privilege'

Queensland Under 17 Country second rower Zac Garton played his first game of rugby league at Redcliffe Dolphins aged five and continues to excel in the game he loves.

The 17-year-old - a "bigger boy" - moved to Gympie not longer after and developed his game with the Gympie Devils, playing there until he was 12, before moving to the Sunshine Coast.

“I moved to Noosa then Kawana… when I moved to the coast, that’s when I moved to Caloundra State High to take my footy a bit more seriously and have a good crack,” Zac said, adding the pathway was intended to prevent players like him from moving away from the Sunshine Coast to pursue an NRL career. 

Last year, Zac played in Sunshine Coast Falcons' Cyril Connell Challenge side.

'What a weapon!' - Zac Garton

This year, Zac played Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup with Redcliffe Dolphins then at Kawana, where his side won the grand final for the third year in a row, and for Caloundra State High. The talented teen also played Queensland Schoolboys.

Zac said he was inspired by North Queensland Cowboys machine Jeremiah Nanai and Gold Coast Titans weapon David Fifita.

“Jeremiah Nanai’s footwork and his athleticism is so good… I really try to bring that into my game, and David Fifita… he’s a big boy too and he runs hard,” Zac said.

Noting both play for the Queensland Maroons, Zac said that was definitely something he aspired to do.

“I've always looked up to the Queensland Maroons… have always got excited when I was younger, watching them on TV,” Zac said.

“Making the Queensland Under 17 Country side is the first step towards that… first step on the path to the Maroons… that’s really exciting.”

Zac was part of the Queensland Under 18 Emerging squad this year and the next step on the representative pathway would be the Queensland Under 19 side.

“It’s all really exciting,” Zac said.

Zac said he looked forward to drawing on his strengths against City come Saturday in front of his mum, dad and family.

“Making this side is a privilege,” Zac said.

“I like running nice lines off my half. I’m a bigger boy, but quite shifty for a bigger guy…. good on my feet. I like to run hard and hit holes.

“I need to do those things well and play to my strengths… help out the team where I can.

“It’s been a big year, so to finish it off with this game is pretty exciting.”

Zac said the Country squad - all in camp this week on the Gold Coast ahead of Saturday's game - was an impressive bunch.

“We’ve got boys from all over the place.. this camp is really bringing us together… there’s a lot of skilful boys in the team who are just tough,” Zac said.

“I think if we all do our job we can get it over the City team.”

Country coach Antonio Kaufusi, passionate about instilling the Maroons values into the young players, said Zac was very impressive.

“I like how tough and honest he is,” Kaufusi said.

“He goes about his business… he’s just tough… at training I like what I see on his edge.”  

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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