Fourteen-year-old Herbie Farnworth has been making a big impression playing rugby league in Australia.
The Ermysted’s pupil has just returned from a six-week spell with the top junior side Burleigh Bears on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
And the powerfully built full back, who scored a record 38 tries for the famous Wigan St Patrick’s under-14s last season, was a big hit.
So much so that he has been given an invitation from the Brisbane Broncos to return next year, provided he can get clearance from his school to fit it in with his academic work.
Herbie was accompanied on his trip by his uncle Brian Foley, who worked for many years for Super League club Wigan, and his mother Joanne.
And as well as playing he met up with some of the game’s top stars, Australia’s Greg Inglis, New Zealand’s Shaun Johnson, and five of the British stars plying their trade Down Under, Sam Tomkins plus the four Burgess brothers Sam, Luke George and Tom who all play for South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Foley, who helps coach the talented youngster who has attracted interest from a number of Super League clubs said: “Following months of negotiations and getting through all the red tape, it was a wonderful experience.
“When Herbie arrived in Australia he fully realised how big rugby league is out there. He was also made aware that he was the first English schoolboy to have travelled so far and taken on such a challenging task.”
He added: “His base was a apartment over looking the famous Surfer’s Paradise and it wasn’t long before Herbie broke into the club’s under-15 first team.
“This was the year above which he normally plays in England. In his six weeks he certainly made his mark earning the respect of his peers and coaches alike.
“He had the satisfaction of scoring two tries to help his team win the premiership title. He had won the Australian boys’ respect.”
He added: “Brisbane Broncos have made an unbelievable offer to Herbie to return and play for their under-15 team next September.Their team is made up from the best players in Australia and the southern hemisphere and Herbie has been fast tracked.
“None of this would have been possible without the support of Ermysted’s and Herbie will go back to school next week with happy memories.”