When Nick Barton moved to Canberra over the summer he had a few goals in mind and the prop has already ticked off one of those after making the ACT Brumbies under 19s squad.
A former Dubbo Rhino, Barton moved down to Canberra to link up with Gungahlin Eagles for the 2023 season as the talented forward looks to further his Rugby career.
Before even stepping foot on the field in a competitive match for his new club, Barton will have a chance to impress those at the Brumbies this weekend when the under 19s play their first trial.
"It was the goal but I didn't think it would come that quickly sort of thing," he said.
"I'm over the moon."
While only an extended squad has been named so far, solid performances could be enough to get the former NSW Country representative into the final squad.
Saturday will be Barton's first hit out with the Brumbies, a day he is really looking forward to.
"I get a training session at Brumbies HQ on Saturday morning then we will play against Warringah under 20s on Saturday afternoon," he said.
"They will pick an under 19s team from that so this is only really the first trial but."
Playing in the ACTRU Premier Division, Gungahlin is a club stacked with talent from head to toe and Barton couldn't have settled in better at the Eagles.
"It's awesome, it's a lot like the Rhinos in the fact it's very do-or-die for the boys you play with," he said.
"The culture is just great, it's a bit of a step up from New Holland Cup."
One of Doug Sandry's best last season, Barton was a mainstay in the Rhinos' forward pack which helped them get to a preliminary final against Parkes.
Making the move even easier for the Dubbo teenager is the fact he isn't the only former Rhino to move to Canberra.
Fellow NSW Country representative Lachie O'Malley has also moved to Australia's capital city and will play for the Eagles as well, with Barton believing it's only a matter of time before he too receives higher honours.
"He got unlucky, he couldn't play under 19s just because he is that bit older," he said.
"But from what I've seen he will definitely push into that academy."
Former Super Rugby back-rower Lachie McCaffrey has already had an impact on Barton thanks to his role as Gungahlin's first grade and academy coach while a former Wallaby has also been floating around.
"Matt Giteau and Lachie McCaffrey are the first grade and academy coaches for the club," he said.
"Learning off them is unbelievable, the awareness they have when they are trying to coach 80 or 90 blokes.
"It's something I've never seen done that well before."
One of Australia's most decorated players, Giteau joined the club during the off-season and is the Eagles' high performance/skills coach for 2023.
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