'Life-changer': Local lad chases professional rugby career
RISING rugby union star Dan Boardman is officially on the radar after being selected in the Queensland Country team for the upcoming National Rugby Championship.
The 21-year-old forced his way into the frame after a breakout season playing for Bond University in Queensland Premier Rugby.
Boardman played first- grade at Lennox Head as a teenager and looked destined for bigger things when he went to Sydney to play in the colts competition for Randwick in 2016.
He moved to the Gold Coast this season and has shown plenty of promise during his stint in the centres.
"I wouldn't have thought I'd be here a few years ago so it's pretty exciting," Boardman said.
"There is a bit of pressure but it's a pathway and it's been a life-changer for guys who have wanted to pursue a career playing professional rugby.
"Hopefully I'm on that road but it's a lot of hard work and I won't be taking anything for granted.
"I doubt they (Queensland Country selectors) knew anything about me from playing in Sydney so I'd like to think it's because of how I played this season on the Gold Coast.
"I'm obviously not a very big name but a good showing here and you never know what might come of it."
Boardman will be in good company with the squad made up of players from the Queensland Reds Super Rugby side and the best prospects from premier rugby.
Far North Coast junior and current Wallabies second-rower Izack Rodda is in the squad but is unlikely to play many games because of his commitments with the Australian squad.
Lennox Head and Wollongbar-Alstonville junior Joey Fittock is also in the NRC team and played fullback on the Gold Coast with Boardman this year.
A handful of other local juniors have played NRC since its inception in 2014 including Alex Gibbon, Matt Gibbon, Ben Johnston, Jake McIntyre and Rowan Perry.
Queensland Country won the title last year under coach Brad Thorn, who has since gone on to coach the Reds.
"I'm looking forward to linking up with Joey again and he's someone who could go really well in the NRC," Boardman said.
"They'll have a good system and it's good to be in an environment where you get access to coaches and the latest equipment and training patterns.
"We'll play games at Mackay and Townsville so it's a chance to travel as a team and interact with the community."
Queensland Country will play its first game against the Canberra Vikings on September 1.