Hard work pays for Rocky duo
RUGBY LEAGUE: The first time Jason Hetherington laid eyes on a teenage Cameron Munster at a CQ Capras training session, he knew he was destined for big things.
"You could see straight away he was a gifted footballer,” the league legend and former Capras coach remembers of the plucky young fullback.
Hetherington's assessment was spot on and tomorrow he will get to witness the now 22-year-old Munster playing in his first NRL grand final.
And in a glowing endorsement of Central Queensland's standing as a breeding ground for league champions, Munster won't be the only Rockhampton product in action for the Melbourne Storm.
Tim Glasby, who played for the CQ Capras from 2010-2012, will come off the bench in his customary role as an impact forward for the Storm.
Hetherington is predicting that the highly disciplined and clinical Storm will get the win tomorrow and deliver the two Rockhampton stars one of league's most cherished prizes - an NRL premiership.
"It's extremely exciting for them and for the area as well,” he said.
"It's every young footballer's dream to play in an NRL grand final and hopefully they can get the win.
"We should all be very proud of these two guys; they took their opportunities and ran with them and now they're enjoying one of the greatest experiences of their careers.
"The thing with Melbourne is that every player knows they have a job to do and they all understand their roles and go out and do it well.
"Cameron and Tim are both doing their jobs extremely well.”
Hetherington did not coach Glasby in his three-year tenure at the CQ Capras, instead appreciating his talent as an opponent in the Storm's feeder club, the Eastern Suburbs Tigers.
"Tim is a prime example of how persistence, patience and hard work can pay off. He's now reaping the rewards of all that and getting to play in the game of his life, a grand final.
"He's a very valuable part of the Melbourne outfit and he won't let anyone down.”
Hetherington can be credited with helping Munster get his big break, playing him at fullback and helping promote his cause with the Storm.
"The first time I saw him at training I could see he had a natural gift,” he said.
"He was a young man full of go and full of enthusiasm. He was a pleasure to work with; he'd listen and ask the right questions.”
Hetherington said it soon became obvious that Munster's time in the ISC ranks would be short-lived and that the NRL would soon be calling.
"He really dominated the competition and was consistently good for us. He also played a couple of really good games at crucial times, including the game against Burleigh where he scored that spectacular individual try that continues to feature in the highlight reels.”
Hetherington describes Munster as a wonderful raw talent that's evolving into a great talent.
"He is confident, he attacks the ball and brings it back well and he's deceptively strong. But probably his greatest strength is just how safe and reliable he is,” he said.
"He's still got a lot to learn but he's only going to get better and better.”
Baralaba-born Hetherington tasted victory in one of the three grand finals he played with the Canterbury Bulldogs.
It is something he says he will forever cherish and he is hoping the Rocky duo get to experience it.
Hetherington is tipping Melbourne to win 17-10.
"I think Melbourne are going to be extremely hard to beat, especially with the likes of Smith and Cronk who have played grand finals before and understand what it's all about,” he said.
"In the game against Canberra last weekend they were 20 from 21 completions at half-time and I'd expect to see the same sort of performance.
"That's how you win finals footy. Melbourne are very disciplined and don't give anything away.”