Wallaroos fullback to use criticism as extra motivation
THE Bundaberg Rugby League awards night should have hosted one of the proudest moments of Wallaroos fullback Joey Alberts' career to date.
The young gun, who was part of the BRL's under-20s 47th Battalion Carnival- winning team and helped Wallaroos reach the A-grade preliminary final, was named Rookie of the Year.
While he celebrated, his legitimacy as a rookie was publicly questioned. It centred on the fact Alberts played A-grade last season.
Rather than be weighed down by the commentary, Alberts ignored the critics, and used their words as motivation to perform.
"I just ignored them. People will always say stuff,” Alberts said. "I wasn't expecting anything when I went up there. I was so confused when they called my name out.”
The recognition has had one significant drawback, as opposition players are more aware of the danger the 18-year-old can be with a Steeden in hand.
"They've been watching me on the field lately, pointing out where I am and all the stuff becomes a bit harder,” Alberts said. "I just do the same thing I usually do but try to push myself.”
Alberts is racing the clock to be fit for Saturday's preliminary final against Hervey Bay. He suffered a shoulder injury in last week's win over Waves, but is confident he will be ready to slot into fullback.
A win against Wallaroos' fiercest rivals will allow Alberts to play his first decider since U12s.
"It's unfortunate we've lost to them each time we've played but we're confident,” he said. "We just have to keep them off the line.”