Rocky Grammar graduate realises childhood dream
RUGBY LEAGUE: Ben Condon has described his NRL debut as a “childhood dream come true”.
The Rockhampton Grammar School graduate came off the bench and played about 18 minutes for the North Queensland Cowboys in their Round 19 clash against the ladder-leading Penrith Panthers last Friday night.
Ben’s parents Rory and Kylie travelled to Townsville for the game and were delighted with what they saw.
“It was really good to be there with my wife and some very good friends watching Ben play his first NRL game,” Rory said.
“It was exciting, but I was probably a bit nervous as well.
“The fact that he came through error-free was great. I was just so happy to see him start on a positive.
“I think at one stage he did four tackles in a row. I understand that his instructions were, because he wasn’t going to be on for long periods of time, to go out and go at 110 per cent.”
Unfortunately, when the final hooter sounded the proud parents were unable to embrace their son and congratulate him face-to-face due to strict COVID-19 measures.
“That was a bit weird, not being able to give him a hug on such a big occasion,” Rory said.
“He waved at us and we waved at him but there was no contact allowed.
“We rang him briefly after the game and he was ecstatic, absolutely ecstatic.”
Ben said in a post-match interview that he was happy to be “out there tackling again”, having not played since March when the Intrust Super Cup was cancelled after just one round due to COVID-19.
He said he was running on adrenaline and his time on the field went very quickly.
“It was just like a childhood dream come true,” the powerhouse forward said.
“When I was out there warming up, I had a look round and thought it was just too good to be true. I was just stoked and pumped and excited.”
Ben said his debut was made even more memorable, given he got to play alongside club legend Gavin Cooper, who will retire at season’s end.
“Coops has been a big help for my development over this year,” Ben said.
“He’s just an unreal bloke, on and off the field.
“To watch him when I was a kid on TV and now play with him is unreal, especially in his last home game for the Cowboys.”