Wandoan’s Sam Scarlett picked in Broncos Nines squad
WANDOAN’S Sam Scarlett might have been a Bulldogs fan when he was a kid, but that will change this weekend.
The 21-year-old will have to put old allegiances aside if he runs out against Cantebury for the Brisbane Broncos in the Auckland Nines.
The Wandoan junior and former Penrith Panther is one of the only recognised halfbacks in the Broncos Nines squad, which opted to rest trio Ben Hunt, Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima for the annual pre-season competition.
But Scarlett isn’t getting his hopes up about dominating the Nines – he’s just happy to be there.
“I always wanted to make it this year and I was a bit shocked [when I found out I was selected],” he said.
“Just to get some good game time and go out there and enjoy myself [would be good].
“I’ve got a lot of experienced players next to me.”
Scarlett, who has endured an injury-plagued start to his NRL career, is fully fit and has added seven kilograms to his frame in the pre-season.
He said being under the guidance of Broncos mastercoach Wayne Bennett was already paying off.
“We’re just finishing up now, with a lot of the fitness backing off now,” he said.
“Wayne runs everything – he’s the head honcho and everything goes through him.
“Just learning from him has been unreal.
“He’s just like one of the boys [but] everyone has a lot of respect for him and he’s very vocal when he needs to be – the room goes pretty quiet.”
Among the playing ranks, Scarlett said Hunt and fullback Darius Boyd had shown the most leadership through the pre-season training.
“Being a halfback, probably Benny Hunt or Darius Boyd have impressed me [the most],” he said.
“Their leadership is great and just the little extras not many people see – they run [training] a lot and have a lot of leadership skills.”
Ironically, Scarlett is one of the front-runners to replace either Hunt or Mildford if they were unavailable due to representative duties or injury.
But despite the Broncos offloading playmaking talents Ashley Taylor and Jaiden Nikorima to the Titans and Roosters respectively, Scarlett said there was still plenty of talent available for him to compete with.
“I’ve just got to wait my turn,” he said.
“You don’t wish for injury on anyone but if I get the chance to play I’m going to take it.
“I’ve just got to keep performing well in Queensland Cup and work hard.”
Scarlett will play with Souths-Logan Magpies this year in the Intrust Super Cup, with club CEO Jim McClelland praising him last year.