FREAKISH: Outback rugby league sensation signs with Storm
The lightning fast 'kangaroo catcher' Michael Purcell's dues have paid off, signing a contract with the Melbourne Storm after displaying 'freakish talent' on rugby league fields across Queensland for the past eight years.
'Purcy' took part in preselection for the storm in late-2020, and despite gruelling training sessions alongside the sport's best athletes, the 180cm Charleville-bred talent was able to impress selectors enough to be handed a Melbourne Storm contract.
"We had contact for an hour and I never ever trained at contact so hard," he said.
"That was the biggest wake-up call when I got there.
"It was a real shock, like this was the real deal."
Weighing in at 75kg, he had up to five coaches watching him the whole time as he put in 110 per cent during each session.
The former Mitchell Magpie now feels like one of the squad, being able to train with the Storm boys and some of the biggest names in professiuonal Rugby League.
"After training, the boys are talking to you like they've known you for 10-plus years," Purcy said.
"It was a big eye opener."
It's still not known when he will play his first big match on the field.
Purcell said he could get a ring to play next week, or he could be called up in three months time; it's all a guessing game at the moment.
Purcy's former Mitchell Magpies coach John Birkett described him as a "freak of nature" who has played some phenomenal matches of footy.
As a Maggie, he never saw himself leaving the small outback town of Mitchell.
But the Charleville-born footy legend was able to head off to play rugby league in Ipswich, Brisbane, Rockhampton, and now down in Australia's second-biggest city, Melbourne.
"Let alone seeing myself going to Melbourne and doing a pre-season with them," he said.
He said it was a crazy journey to get down during the COVID days.
When he was on the Queensland footy fields, he was often told he was too 'small' to be good at footy, but his incredible talent and dedication to training has proven otherwise.
"Don't listen to the outside world and believe in yourself," he said.
"There's so many doors that can be opened, you just gotta go hard and take the opportunity."
In the meantime, he's dedicated to knuckling down on his training and playing good footy.
Purcy is encouraging young teens from southwest Queensland to get in and have a go, and to not think they're not good enough to achieve big with rugby.
He said anyone looking for guidance with footy is welcome to message him.
EARLIER STORY: 'ALWAYS A MAGGIE' - I went from Mitchell to Melbourne Storm