Hervey Bay's Horne plans to prove his critics wrong
FANCY telling one of the Bundaberg Rugby League's premier players they are too old to play in a representative team.
Hervey Bay Seagulls captain Clinton Horne knows all about it.
"I was told I couldn't tackle but they've picked me the last 10 years," Horne said. "I'm out to prove the critics wrong."
Horne's omission from the BRL's representative team stung the 30-year-old halfback, who had been a mainstay in the side for the best part of a decade.
It stems from his selection in the BRL's pre-season game against CQ Capras, which he missed due to a family reunion. The memo at the time was those who played would get preferential treatment when it came to the Bundaberg side for the 47th Battalion Carnival.
Horne opted not to play the pre-season game, but the reasons given for his omission have driven the Seagulls stalwart to new heights this season.
"You are only as old as you feel," he said.
"I keep getting shit about it but I'm still going,
"I've got my team and we've got back-to-back minor premierships."
Horne admitted he was a terrible defender, and his move to fullback five years ago was partly driven by that weakness.
But Horne, one of BRL's top point-scorers, is his harshest critic.
"I went back to fullback because I couldn't tackle but this has been my best year defensively," he said.
"It's probably been an up and down year (overall). I thought I played pretty well and I was disappointed not to make rep."
The end goal for Horne and his teammates is to win the BRL premiership.
After a heavy loss in last year's decider, the Seagulls assembled a squad capable of knocking off every other team in the competition.
And that is exactly what they have done.
The Seagulls lost their opening-round game against Past Brothers by one point, but won the next 17 fixtures to finish 10 points clear atop the table.
"We were always confident to be at the top of the table but our focus is to go one better than last year," he said. "We've got a heap of depth."
The Seagulls will have to complete the job without the services of who Horne said should have been the BRL Player of the Year.
Joel McCrea was a front-runner for the award, but a suspension in the final week of the season ruined both his play for the individual honour, and a dream premiership.
"He is hard to replace but we've got the second and third best hookers in the comp so they'll be more than capable," Horne said.