TO ALL young players hoping to get a crack in first grade, here's a tip: accidentally join in at training.
Exciting rugby league prospect Daniel Kirk starred in his A-grade debut, scoring a try and helping the Hervey Bay Seagulls hold on to beat Easts Magpies 20-16 at Stafford Park.
The 17 year old was a shock selection for the No.9 jersey for Saturday's night's Bundaberg Rugby League clash, replacing Joel Denduck who was ruled out with an AC joint injury.
But in a remarkable twist of fate, Kirk only wound up in the Seagulls line-up after turning up to the wrong training session by mistake.
"It was actually my first week back training this weekend and I accidentally started training with A-grade instead of under-18s - I just didn't see 18s training - and they just said 'stay here brother'," Kirk explained.
"Next training they asked if I could play hooker for them, and I jumped at the opportunity."
Kirk said the chance to play for the Seagulls at A-grade level was a dream come true.
"I remember when I was 10 years old, I'd be watching the huge crowds supporting the Seagulls and I would be at the back playing footy just admiring the A-graders," he said.
"To be in that position now at just 17 is a privilege really."
In addition to playing his part in a stunning defensive effort as the Magpies laid siege to the Hervey Bay tryline on countless occasions, Kirk dragged three defenders across the line to allow the Seagulls to extend their lead going into the break.
"It took ages to get to that line, or it seemed like it, but I eventually go there," Kirk said about his try.
"I hit it and I was halfway through and they only had arms tackles on me so I knew if I kept pumping my legs I could see that line and once you see that you go for it.
"But this team really helped me throughout today."
At 85kg and 174cm, Kirk has the size, strength and mobility to play anywhere in the forward pack.
Another Seagulls junior destined for big things, Kirk was picked in the Queensland under-16 side last year after captaining Wide Bay Bulls to an historic victory at the state titles and was named player of the carnival.
Most recently he led Wide Bay to an impressive four-place finish at the Queensland School Sport 16-19 Years Rugby League State Championship in Mackay.
Despite being overlooked for the Queensland schoolboys' squad, Kirk said he would not let that alter his desire to play in the NRL.
"There was only three or four actual 17 year olds who made that squad and I thought I had a good go at it," he said.
"That's all I could do and leave it up to the selectors I guess."
Kirk said the key now was to make sure he keeps his spot in the Seagulls' top-grade side.
"I want to hold my position," he said.
"If I can pull my weight in this team and go well that means I am playing well with men and developing my footy playing against better competition.
"If I keep pushing myself that's only going to improve my game more and more."
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.