From Dubbo to the Perth Nines, Bayden Searle is a young, exciting halfback who's looking to implement all he’s learned from veteran teammates to make his mark at the upcoming pre-season tournament.
Featuring seven times throughout the club’s Canterbury Cup campaign last season, Searle earned himself a train-and-trial arrangement and now after a big pre-season, a spot in the 18-man NRL Nines squad alongside experienced heads such as Kurt Mann and Aidan Guerra.
While Mann and Guerra are both players Searle attributes influencing his game, one man in particular he’s been following has been the captain and premiership-winning half, Mitchell Pearce.
“It’s good to get under his wing,” Searle said.
“They’ve got heaps of tips. They’re always pointing you in the right direction.
Searle: Dubbo origins, Nines and Pearce influence
“Even all the older boys, like Aidan Guerra. They’re all good to learn off.
“It’s good to get in behind them, see what they do, get tips and try to improve my game off that.”
The young man from out west only joined the Knights at the beginning of last season thanks to the aid of Andrew Ryan who vouched for Searle, but since then has gained recognition as a talented up-and-comer who can play well above his weight.
Emphasis will particularly be placed on his playmaking skills as coach Adam O’Brien hasn’t exactly laid out a gameplan, rather instructing to the team to play with their “eyes up.”
“I think he just wants us to play what we see. It’s an adlib competition,” said Searle.
“There’ll be a lot of first-class players. It’ll give me a good chance to see where I’m at…I’m looking to take it with both hands.
“Everything’s a stepping-stone. I’ve got to come in and do the best I can and hopefully it can take me to a good place.
“[It will be] the biggest crowd I’ve played in front of. You don’t get crowds like that out in Dubbo.”
While his focus is fixed on this weekend in Perth, Searle’s also got his eye on the future and his progression to hopefully play in the NRL.
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It’s been a rather rapid rise for the Dubbo CYMS junior, and having already left his family on his chase for his dream, he’s willing to continue overcoming the challenges that come his way.
“It’s the biggest step up I’ve had to face,” he said.“It’s a lot of new experiences. I’m enjoying it and taking everything in.
“I’d love to stay here for as long as it takes really. I’ll put the hard work and hopefully I can get there.”