CQ boy’s dream come true despite doctors warnings
HE WAS once advised by doctors to walk away from the game he had grown to love as a kid.
But it was that love of the game that saw him defy the doctors' orders and seven years later, 21-year-old Corey Oates will next week fulfill a life-long dream of representing the Queensland Maroons.
Rugby league has forever been in Oates' blood. He had a ball in his hands before he could crawl and was begging to run out with older brother Matthew to play.
Since he found out about his selection on Sunday night, his parents Warren and Janette were the first he called.
"It's obviously very good for him, we are both fairly excited for him," his father Warren said.
"Very proud definitely, I honestly didn't think he would get in this early given his age. But his start to the season has been terrific, pretty hard to ignore.
"I think Janette bought him his first footy, a soft ball at Christmas, he would have been only one or two or maybe younger.
"There wasn't a junior set-up in Baralaba like there is today but under-6s he was very keen. He couldn't wait to get playing. He would watch Matthew play and beg for a run."
Warren recalled his youngest son's devastation about not being allowed to play football at only 14.
"They said to give up football for a year, he had big problems with cartilage in his knee," he said.
"He went down to Brisbane to have it trimmed, funny though his side made the grand final and the coach called him up wanting him to play.
"He probably shouldn't have and it probably wasn't fair on the other kids but he played.
"That year he grew four inches and really spurted up. I think those growing pains are what causes some of his current injuries."
Oates, who once scored 11 tries in two days at a junior carnival, was naturally picked up by rugby league production line St Brendan's Yeppoon. Warren credited the coaching of Terry Hansen and Jason Green as major influences.
"We would watch him play and you knew he had something growing up but we didn't think he would turn out this good," he said.
"Once he went to Terry and Jason who both had a lot to do with him. They would say he had that x-factor, the spark. He would always pull something out of nothing and score a try.
"Darren Lockyer was his favourite player growing up and he played a bit of fullback. But mainly it was the centres and wing. Back then he wouldn't have expected to debut on the wing.
"It wasn't till grade 11 when they put him in the back row and said that's his position."