SUPER RESULT FOR LOCAL LAD
RUGBY UNION: All athletes dream of playing on the big stage, but for some it happens a lot sooner than expected.
As was the case with Whitsundays native Harry Hockings, who made his Super Rugby debut for the Queensland Reds recently - and all before his 20th birthday.
"It was a bit of a surprise,” admitted Hockings afterwards.
"I'd been in the Reds squad for a while, and one of the other guys got suspended which happened to open up a spot.”
Checking into the game at the 65th minute there was no time for warm-ups for the debutant, or mistakes for that matter.
With the Reds up by a single try and their first victory of the season on the line, the 19-year-old's first crack in Super Rugby would come when the stakes were highest, and he didn't disappoint.
"Coach (Brad Thorn) gave me a bit of a pep speech before I went in. He just told me to do what I do best and to work hard.”
Work hard he did. After a penalty goal put the Reds up 15-5, the Brumbies quickly hit back with a try before another Reds penalty goal put the game out of reach.
The Reds won the game 18-10 and Hockings played the last 15 minutes - playing well enough to earn him a selection for the following week.
Despite the jump in standard, Hockings said he loved every second.
"I was a bit nervous going in but once I got there I just played my game,” he said.
"It was definitely a whole other level in terms of speed and physicality, it was a massive step up. I definitely felt it, especially on my first carry, but it got me motivated for more.”
Born in Proserpine before moving to Bowen in 2008, Hockings shaped his skills playing junior rugby league for the Bowen Seagulls, as well as briefly for the Bowen Mudcrabs.
Leaving Bowen in 2011 to attend boarding school in Brisbane, Hockings would eventually be selected into the Australian schoolboy's team, which later earned him a spot into the Queensland Reds under 20s program.
Now two years into his Reds career, Hockings is fighting to be a mainstay in the top side. The Reds boast a young squad, with the club currently sitting second in the Australian Super Rugby standings with three wins and one loss.
The goal for Hockings now is to keep training and build on his experience.
"I want to get more of a crack at a Super Rugby level and continue to train hard and learn off the guys in the top squad,” he said.
"I'd like to play in the under 20s world cup in France in June.”