Most people would have never heard of one of Dubbo’s brightest young rugby prospects, but his face is one of the city’s most well-known.
Thomas Robertson is the face of the Junior Sport section in the Monday editions of the Daily Liberal and this weekend the former Dubbo Kangaroo will be heading to the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra to follow his rugby dream.
Now 15, Thomas’s appearance has changed somewhat since that photograph was taken and he now attends St Joseph’s School in Sydney in Year 9.
A number eight when he left Dubbo, Thomas has enjoyed a successful season with the 15As at Joeys playing in the change position of loose head prop.
Last month he was selected to attend an elite training camp to be held at the AIS in Canberra.
The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) will be conducting the Junior Gold Camp at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, bringing together over 100 players from across Australia aged between 14 and 16.
“Thomas was totally surprised but was over the moon when he found out,” his father and local branch manager of Chesterfield, Steve Robertson said.
“While he had a good season he’s a little fish in a big pond down there and didn’t expect anything like this.
“He first started playing with the Roos in about under-8s and has always been rugby mad, although for a while he also played league on Saturdays.”
In those days, coached by John Groves, Thomas played alongside the likes of Ben Carolan and Josh Wilde who are also now at Joeys.
Another boy from the western region at the school is Nyngan’s Sam Barclay and he was also selected to attend the Junior Gold Camp.
This weekend’s camp will provide the ARU’s High Performance Unit coaching staff with the opportunity to view players against the best young players in the country as the initial entry element of the Junior Gold Squad - formerly the National Talent Squad.
Players have been selected for the camp based on performances throughout 2009 and the potential to further develop.
The purpose of the program is to identify the best young players in Australia and provide nationally co-ordinated, systematic, progressive and expert coaching to support the players to reach the highest levels of rugby in future years.
The only player still in the Central West Rugby Union system selected to attend is Mudgee High School’s Liam Moylan.
Players selected for the Junior Gold Squad will be informed on Monday.