Harry Duggan steps into under-16 State of Origin spotlight

JOT down the name Harry Duggan in your little black book.

Chances are you’ll be hearing a lot more about him after the Muswellbrook teenager was named in the NSW under-16 team, which will tackle Queensland in the curtain-raiser to the State of Origin fixture at ANZ Stadium next week.

And, while the talented prop’s ready to make his mark, the 15-year-old admits he’s equally anxious.

“I’m nervous but I’m excited at the same time,” Duggan said.

“It will be the biggest crowd I’ve played in front of.

“Earlier in the season, it was a goal of mine to make the side.

“So, I was stoked to be in the squad.

“But, to then get selected in the actual team was great.

“I’m expecting a tough game – and I can’t wait.”

Duggan’s in good hands too, according to his parents Craig and Kirsten, as the NSW outfit’s coach is none other than Blues legend Brad Fittler.

“Having Freddy [Fittler] in charge will be a terrific experience for Harry,” they said.

“They go into camp (like the NRL players) on Saturday, to prepare for Wednesday’s match.

“We’re extremely proud of him.”

The St Joseph’s High School Aberdeen Year 10 student is already attracting plenty of attention in rugby league circles.

Last November, Duggan was chosen for Harold Matthews trials, in the NRL competition, for the Newcastle Knights, Central Coast Centurians and Parramatta Eels.

Following much thought, and consideration, he opted for the Eels, in which he faced an initial selection pool of 44 kids.

That’s when the hard yards began.

“We travelled three nights a week during the pre-season with another one of Harry’s mates until January in which he made the final cut of 25,” his mother said.

“What we, as parents, and the Parramatta officials and training staff love is Harry’s drive, dedication and perseverance, considering we live three-and-a-half hours away.

“All of his fellow team mates live in Sydney, which makes it easier for them.

“The Eels have played an important part in Harry’s development. 

“He’s acquired skills that have led him to be a part of Parramatta’s starting team every week.”

And, it’s paid dividends.

The Eels Harold Matthews line-up took out the 2016 competition, remaining undefeated.

The side then flew to Brisbane, to play for the national title, and came away victorious.

“I’d like to crack it in the NRL,” said Duggan, who’s signed with the Eels until 2018.

“It’s a matter of determination, hard work and staying focused.”

BIG THINGS AHEAD: Young Muswellbrook prop Harry Duggan will represent the NSW under-16 team against Queensland at ANZ Stadium next week.

BIG THINGS AHEAD: Young Muswellbrook prop Harry Duggan will represent the NSW under-16 team against Queensland at ANZ Stadium next week.