Desire Burns brightly for Seagulls young gun
BULLDOGS-bound Sam Burns says his focus is squarely on winning a premiership with the Seagulls before he pursues a career in the NRL.
Sunday's sudden death semi-final against Isis Devils could be the 17-year-old's final A-grade game with Hervey Bay having recently signed a three-year deal with NRL club Canterbury.
But before the tenacious No.9 flies out for Belmore, he has some unfinished business he wants to take care of.
Top priority is leading the Seagulls to an elusive premiership in the Bundaberg Rugby League competition.
"It's a real big motivation for me," Burns said.
"Because it will be my last season for Seagulls for a while, I want to make every game from now on in the finals like it is my last.
"We've got a team with belief and that can do it (win the premiership).
"It just comes down to attitude, keep our game plan right and be consistent."
Burns made a perfect start to his A-grade career, scoring a try on debut against Across The Waves in Round 11.
He went on to become a regular fixture in the Seagulls, and showed great form while at halfback for injured player-co-coach Mitch Yarrow, scoring a double against the Wallaroos in Round 16 and leading Hervey Bay to victory against the Devils last weekend.
Burns said he was happy with how he had progressed this season, but admitted his transition into senior football hadn't been as smooth as many supporters would think.
"It's definitely been tough," he said.
"Unlike my own age group where I don't get smashed a lot, every game I get hit real hard."
While his rugby league journey kicked off on the Gold Coast, Burns is a Seagull through-and-through.
He first donned the red and green colours when he was six and has played for Hervey Bay ever since.
Forever indebted to the Seagulls for giving him the opportunity to grow as a footballer, Burns said he was also looking forward to making his mark with the Bulldogs.
"I consider myself pretty lucky for the opportunity, but there is a lot of relief there as well," he said.
"I've been trying to get somewhere with footy for a long time now and once I got the call for the offer I was stoked."
The Bulldogs had shown a interest in the promising rake in the past, but it was his impressive display for Wide Bay in the Queensland School Sport 18 years rugby league state championship in Kingaroy that prompted Bulldogs development manager Jim Whitney to offer Burns a contract.
The Urangan State High School student will move to Sydney after his graduation in November and immediately start training for a place in the Bulldogs SG Ball under-18 team.
Burns nominated his high-tackle count in games as his strength, hitting the gym up to five times a week to bulk him up to 87kg in anticipation of the rigours of rugby league at the highest level.
"My drive is to look at people's expectations of me and try to live up to them," he said.
"But I want to do it for the people who believe in me and who have given me the belief I can do it.
"The Bulldogs seem to be a good family club and the A-graders help mentor the under-18 boys so I'm really keen to get mentored by Michael Ennis."