Boom rookie achieves feat not seen in 40 years

2 weeks ago 8
PR Distribution

A youngster who yesterday achieved what no Australian sportsman has managed for four decades is set to sign a contract with the Penrith Panthers.

Ryley Smith, a promising 18-year-old hooker, woke up yesterday morning to news that he had been selected in the Australian Schoolboys league merit team.

READ MORE: Fallout continues after Latrell Mitchell's hit on Joey Manu

READ MORE: Gould says 'this year is the softest comp I've ever seen'

That followed his selection last year in the Australian under-18 cricket team, making him the first player to win green and gold honours in the two big sports since Souths star Bronko Djura in the early 1980s.

Ryley Smith is set to be signed by the Panthers. (Instagram)

"It (being selected) was a nice thing to wake up to," Smith, a level-headed and mature 18-year-old told Wide World of Sports.

"I just finished my HSC yesterday so it was a double cause for celebration."

The youngster from St Dominics at Kingswood captained Sydney Under-18s to victory over Country earlier this year and has also played touch football for NSW at junior level.

A hooker in the mould of Melbourne namesake Brandon Smith, he has been pursued by several clubs but he and his manager Steve Shearer have decided to sign with the Panthers and hopefully join the first grade squad on a development contract next season.

In summertime, Smith is an aggressive opening batsman who has already played first grade for Penrith in the Sydney grade competition despite his tender years.

Smith knows that - just as Djura did back in the '80s - eventually he will have to choose between his two sporting loves.

Ryley Smith excels at both cricket and rugby league. (Instagram)

Djura chose league and had a fine career at Souths and St George, playing nearly 100 first grade games.

"People keep asking me and I honestly don't know which direction I will take in the long term," he said.

"I am getting great support from both codes and love them both - we'll just see what happens."

For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!

Read Entire Article