NT trio make it into Townsville Blackhawks rugby league team

Friday, November 11, 2016


WILL Fox never gave up on his dream to play in the NRL.

And making Darwin’s Parramatta Eels Academy by accident was the moment which spurred him on to greater heights.

Now the tireless 17-year-old second-rower has been rewarded for his persistence after making the final cut of the Townsville Blackhawks’ Under-18 squad in Queensland’s Mal Meninga Cup.

He made that list alongside fellow NT Institute of Sport talents Sam Stopp and Brayden Daly.

Fox was in the NTIS Academy for three years, captained the NT Under-15s in 2014 and played for the Under-18 NT and Combined Affiliated States outfit this year.

He relocated to Townsville in March to attend the rugby-league strong Kirwan High School alongside Stopp and Daly.

“I was told I made the NTIS Academy by accident at first,” Fox said.

“But I stuck to my plan, worked hard and made something out of it.”

There’s no doubting the former Darwin High School student is a hard worker.

“Every day I’m training and three times a week I’m up at 5am,” he said.

“I’m stoked at this opportunity — it’s a little overwhelming but I’m working hard towards my dream.

“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the help I got at the NTIS.

“And coming to Townsville and training with Queensland representatives at Kirwin High School has really helped me progress my game.”

Daly’s story is also one of commendable persistence.

The front-rower relocated to Sydney to trial with the Eels’ Under-16s squad last year but was unsuccessful.

He played for the NT’s Under-15 representative team in 2014 and the Under-18s this year.

And fullback Stopp, like Daly, spent two years in the NTIS and Eels Academy and played for the same rep teams.

“It’s not easy for these boys to relocate so I’m rapt for them,” NTIS rugby league coach Duncan MacGillivray said. “If you look at Will, he’s someone who’s undergone a huge transformation and gone onto captain the NT.

“We’ve developed a good relationship with Kirwan High School, which is one of the best rugby league schools in Australia. Rugby league at the NTIS is the strongest it’s ever been — we’ve got good numbers across each of our four different academies in Darwin, with a view to growing the game in Katherine and Alice Springs.”