JAKE Gallagher has long dreamed about wearing the green and gold of Australia.
After a stellar performance for NSW Combined Catholic Colleges side at the recent Australian champions, Gallagher, of Ramsgate, was picked in the Australian secondary schools under-15 rugby league merit team.
And now that he has had a taste, he wants more.
‘‘I think it’s safe to say it was the happiest moment of my life,’’ Gallagher said.
‘‘We had just beaten Queensland in the grand final and then to be named in the Australian squad topped it off.’’
The Marist College Kogarah student is no stranger to representative squads, having played for NSW in the Primary Schools Sports Association Championships in 2009.
At the recent national titles in Darwin, Gallagher scored a try in his team’s 41-32 win against Queensland Maroons.
‘‘It was definitely a step up from anything that I’ve played before,’’ Gallagher said.
‘‘The game was much more physical and much faster than anything which I’ve experienced.
‘‘My main focus was to win the nationals.
‘‘Our team had a really close bond and we wanted to win for each other.
‘‘Making the Australian squad was in the back of my mind, but it wasn’t my main goal.’’
The tournament was intense as players battled the hot Northern Territory conditions and played four games in
Gallagher, 14, was named in the second row.
‘‘My long-term goal is to play in the NRL but I know I have a lot of hard work to go if I want to make it,’’ he said.
‘‘My favourite player is Isaac Luke. He is one of the smallest players in the game but no one can get him to the ground.’’
* Endeavour Sports High School’s Delane Cherrington was named most valuable player for the NSW Combined High School’s side at the tournament.
Players to have made Australian secondary schools rugby league’s under-15 rugby league merit team:
Kyle Stanley (Endeavour Sports High School)
Lance Thompson (Kingsgrove High School)
Mitch Brown (Endeavour Sports High School)
Andrew Dallalana (Endeavour Sports High School)
Dean Raper (Kingsgrove High School).