Brock Lamb’s long held aspiration to play NRL football for the Newcastle Knights became a reality last weekend.
For a young man who was raised in the Hunter and born in the very year the Newcastle Knights won their first premiership, it’s no mystery why he has always carried so much passion to represent the red and blue.
That pride peaked on Saturday when the 19-year-old ran out at Allianz Stadium at five-eighth for the Knights’ Round 9 clash against the Sydney Roosters.
“It meant a lot to me and my family,” he told Knights TV.
“I have grown up in the area my whole life and it really meant a lot to me to put on the red and blue jersey and debut here.
“I couldn’t imagine debuting for another Club. I’ve put my heart and soul into this club since I was little.
“I hope I continue to do that for the rest of my career.”
As with most NRL debuts, the week leading into the maiden match was filled with plenty of uncertainty.
“Browny (coach Nathan Brown) spoke to me and said there was a possibility I was playing, but I was not sure if I was on the bench or starting so I just prepared during the week as if I was starting,” he said.
“Luckily enough he spoke to me on Friday and said I was going to start so I was pretty stoked.”
The day of the big game at Allianz Stadium carried a myriad of emotions for the Wests Maitland Reddogs junior.
“There were a lot of emotions going through my mind and body,” he said.
“I tried to stay pretty calm. Lots of the boys helped me with telling me to stay calm and to not really focus on it.
“I think they really helped when we came to the game because I was pretty relaxed and calm going into the game.”
The circumstances of his debut also carry mixed emotions for Lamb who earned his position through the injury of one of his most supportive mentors, five-eighth Jarrod Mullen.
“It was terrible what happened to Jarrod. He has helped me a lot,” he said about Mullen, who injured his hamstring in Round 9.
“I wish him all the best and hope he gets back soon.”
It meant Lamb was guided through the experience by skillful halfback, Trent Hodkinson.
“Having Trent alongside me, he’s an unreal halfback and is really calm out there and really controlled,” he said.
“That really rubbed off on me and had a positive impact so hopefully that can move us forward in the coming weeks.”
Lamb feels he has eased into the intensity of NRL football after joining the Knights’ NRL pre-season training squad.
“Playing in the (Auckland) Nines and in the trial match and training with the boys all year ahs really helped and has put me in good stead for what first grade is all about,” he said.
“They have drilled it into the boys every week what first grade is all about and how tough it is.
“It really helped me and will continue to help me in the weeks to come."
With Mullen expected to be sidelined for up to 10 weeks, there’s ample chances for the teenager to continue to develop his game on the big stage.
“I’m going to work on playing some consistent footy and work on my positives and negatives,” he said.
“Hopefully I can do a job for the team until Jarrod is back.”