Former Dubbo utility Nigel Millgate is taking his game to a new level, playing in America.
The product of Dubbo junior league has joined the New York Knights for a three-months stint and according to his father, Dubbo Junior League president Neil Millgate, the boy from the bush is loving it in the US of A.
“It’s probably the furtherest from my mind when he left Dubbo that he would be playing rugby league in America,” Neil said.
“This season he’s been playing half-back for Collegians in the Illawarra league under Scott Logan (the coach) but happened to be talking on the internet to this bloke from the New York club and said there was a spot if he wanted to come over.
“It’s only a three-month trip and although he’s only been there a couple of weeks, he’s had a couple of games and loves it.” So with the blessing of Collegians, Millgate set off for a season that will end in August for the eight teams in the competition.
He’s living with the coach in a flat under his house and has also organised leave without pay from his job in Sydney.
The Knights opened their 2011 championships in Philadelphia against the Wildcats, one of the recognised top sides.
Millgate’s team was down 14-0 early but the Boy from Oz turned the game around with some brilliant play from half-back.
They led 16-14, 28-14 and seemingly had the game in the grasp leading 40-24 before the Wildcats hit back with their best football of the game.
They scored three tries in the last 10 minutes - the last on the bell - for an amazing 42-40 victory.
Despite the loss, Millgate was one of the best players on the ground and it seems certain a lot of the Knights’ attacking process will come from the half-back in the weeks ahead.
The New York Knights Rugby League Football Club was established in 2001.
They are based out of Pier 40 in Manhattan and twice been crowned champions in 2002 and 2009.
The club’s profile says that the Knights ‘provide a pathway for aspiring athletes to hone their skills in one of the world’s toughest and fastest sports.’
The latest news from the American League is that NRL referee Chris Sutton has been appointed to handle the grand final in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, on August 28.
This is the first in a number of new strategies to develop match officials for the AMNRL.
This includes a referees exchange and training from Australia.