Bartlett on the rise for Comets
CQ COMETS fullback Daniel Bartlett came to Central Queensland to progress his football career, which makes it surprising that he is employed teaching Australian rules.
Last week the teenager made an inspiring debut for the Comets in the victory over Northern Pride at Cairns, putting together a display that even caught Comets coach Wayne Barnett by surprise.
However, during the week the young player has a different role, taking the sport of Australian rules football to the indigenous communities of the region.
The main part for Bartlett is communication but he knows enough to teach the basic skills – even though he has never played the sport.
“I just teach the kids to handball and kick,” he said.
While Scott Smithwick might like to see Bartlett in a Brothers jersey kicking majors, the youngster said that won't happen any time soon.
Bartlett moved to Rockhampton from Townsville this year.
“Just for the footy, I had just finished school and moved down here,” he said.
The young player does have family in the district and that was a deciding factor about coming to Rockhampton.
While in Townsville, Bartlett played under-18 football and was in the Cowboys' development program in 2008.
At nearly 18, Bartlett still holds the dream of making it into the NRL but first he is working on cementing a place in the Comets.
Coming into the squad halfway through a season is difficult for the youngster but he has taken that into his stride, even though he had not teamed up with any of the players before his arrival.
“When I was at school I played against some of the Rocky boys,” he said.
However, even for an ambitious young player as Bartlett, getting the nod to play in the Intrust Super Cup was a thrill.
“I was stoked,” he said, “I didn't know what to say when Wayne asked me to sign a contract and to play.”
Playing for the Comets was everything he had hoped.
“It is a lot faster than club football and a lot more physical,” he said. “When you play at that level you have to put your body on the line.”
As the youngest and one of the smallest players, it was going to be a tough outing but Bartlett came through with flying colours.
“I was happy when I scored a try,” he said.
Although Bartlett had never played with Nat Bowman before, he said there was a built-in understanding between the two and put this down to a common indigenous background.
“We seem to have the same understanding of football,” he said. The crowd at Browne Park will be swelled by the Bartlett family tonight with two of his greatest inspirations, dad Miseron and young sister Tiere leading the cheering.
The players named to meet Souths Logan at Browne Park tonight at 6pm: Daniel Bartlett, Joshua Speer, Matt Templeman, Mitch Zornig, Dallas Williams, Tevita Latu, Nat Bowman, James Taputu-Crombie, Ian Webster, Tim Glasby, Tyron Haynes, Darren Mapp, Guy Williams (c), Neale Wyatt, Daniel Palavi, Brent Williams, Guy Ford.