Boyhood Bulls fan Nathan Conroy says making his debut has poured confidence into him as he bids to become a Super League star.
The 18-year-old hooker played the final 20 minutes of last week-end’s televised 58-6 home win over Huddersfield.
It was a dream ending to a season in which Conroy (pictured) and fellow rookie Alex Mellor became full-time professionals after being promoted from the Academy on July 1.
Conroy’s cameo against the Giants saw him become the fifth Academy player to appear for the first team this year following the emergence of Sam Wood, Oliver Roberts, Mellor and Curtis Naughton, who also debuted last weekend.
Conroy said: “I’ve been supporting the Bulls for as long as I can remember so to get on the pitch and make my debut was a dream come true. I had a lot of family there to watch me – my brother, sister and my mum, so it was a good experience for them too.
“I got someone to record the game for me, so I watched it back when I got home!
“I had been 18th man against Warrington when Alex had made his debut, so it was great to get my chance in the last game of the season.
“It’ll give me some confidence so that if I get another chance next year I’ll know what it’s all about.
“We had a lot of injuries and so had to move people about to make it all fit, but it worked well.”
Conroy will remain a part of the Academy side next year while training with Francis Cummins’ senior squad.
Matt Diskin, Heath L’Estrange and Adam O’Brien are all currently ahead of Conroy in the pecking order of hookers at the Provident Stadium.
But Conroy declared: “I’ve got another year in the Under-19s so I’ll start off with them but I’ll always be available for the first-team whenever they want me or need me.
“Hopefully I will get a few more games next year to get more experience and keep improving.
“It’s not going to be easy with Adam in front of me because he’s got a few years more experience than me.
“But I’ll just try my best and I’ll keep working hard in the gym and in training to improve certain areas of my game. Hopefully it will benefit me.”
Conroy is enjoying the challenges of being a full-time professional rugby league player after signing a two-year deal.
“I love it and it’s a good way of life,” he added.
“It’s hard work, don’t get me wrong, but it’s something I want to pursue a career in.”