Young Goldfields rugby league star Royce Hunt has continued his meteoric rise through the ranks by winning a two-year junior contract with NRL heavyweights Canterbury Bulldogs.
The announcement comes in the same week Hunt’s older brother Layne was named in the State touch team which will contest the national championships in Queensland next month – continuing a proud sporting tradition for the local family.
Royce Hunt will likely formalise the deal early next week before moving to Sydney in November where he will play in the Bulldogs’ Harold Matthews Cup team against under 16 sides from throughout New South Wales.
The 14-year-old will also attend Bass Hill High School – renowned for producing a host of NRL players, including games record-holder Terry Lamb.
The contract is a significant step forward in Hunt’s dream of playing professionally.
“It’s a dream come true,” Hunt said.
“When I found out they (Canterbury) were interested, it was pretty exhilarating.
“I’m definitely looking forward to the move and hopefully playing regularly can help me get better.”
Going hand-in-hand with the rigours of a professional sporting career is the need for a manager – something Hunt recently secured in the form of Sydney-based company Pulse Management.
Hunt will be managed by prominent player agent Chris Regaris, whose clients include Bulldogs star Ben Roberts.
It has been a whirlwind two months for Hunt, who became the target of several NRL clubs following a standout performance for WA at the national secondary school championships in Canberra recently.
His exploits also earned selection in the Australian under 15 team and the tag as one of the country’s brightest prospects, drawing interest from the Parramatta Eels, South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Melbourne Storm.
But Royce’s father, Goldfields Titans coach Rob Hunt, said there was only one club where he wanted his son.
“At the end of the day the Bulldogs were the ones with a very solid contract for Royce,” Rob Hunt said.
“It’s effectively signed, sealed and delivered and we’ve given them our word that he’ll be in the blue and white next year.
“It all starts when he signs on the dotted line and we’ll be doing that in the next couple of days I would think.
“We’re very happy that he’s chasing his dream.”
Hunt’s achievement is made all the more remarkable by the fact there is no locally-based competition.
Instead, the dashing second-rower makes regular trips to Perth where he plays with Willagee Bears in the WA Rugby League’s junior competition.
Hunt will stay with family when he moves to Sydney later this year and appears on a fast-track to stardom.
The Harold Matthews Cup is the stepping stone into the country’s premier Under 18 competition, the SG Ball, which is itself a springboard to the Under 20 Toyota Cup.
Assuming Hunt continues to show the talent which has already caught the eye of the nation’s leading clubs, an eventual NRL career appears a distinct possibility.