For a while there Bailey Devine-Scott and shadow player were quite common in the same sentence when it came to rugby league representative teams.
Time after time the Wattle Grove resident was just missing out on making the next step up.
So after 10 years he decided to make a change to American football – and he has never looked back.
"I went to America and watched a game live and thought this is incredible and when I got home I started researching clubs and found the West Sydney Pirates,” he said.
“I’d had always watched the NFL since I was a kid and I loved the sport and I wanted to try something new.
“It was hard to leave something I had put my whole life into but it got to the point where I watching clips online and I just wanted to give it a go.”
That was 2014. Three years later and he has not only found a home in American football, he has an Australian jersey to boot.
The 18-year old has been selected for the Australian team that will compete at the International Federation of American Football under-19 World Championships in Mexico City in July.
The Australian team will be looking to improve on their performance from two years ago where they had a 50 per cent record against teams from USA, Canada, Mexico, Japan and Austria or Germany.
“I’m really looking forward to it; I’m starting to get goosebumps thinking about singing the national anthem,” he said.
“I was at the qualifying camp last year and we were supposed to play New Zealand but they pulled out so this will be the first time I play for Australia so I’m really excited.”
His selection comes off the back of a stellar National Championships performance where he was named the most valuable player for NSW as they finished runners up to Queensland.
His rapid rise has seen him earn a academic scholarship to Western New England University where he will play and study mechanical engineering after the World Championships.
It’s a far cry from when he was playing hooker for Cabramatta in rugby league only three years ago.
“I grew a little bit so that helped. Now I play safety, which is like fullback in rugby league. My job is primarily to be the last person in defence and cover any passes and make tackles on run plays,” he said.
“To make the NSW team – it was like I had finally made it. I was so nervous, but once I made a tackle it felt like a normal game. It was good to be able sit back and say I represented my state.”
- Bailey is looking for sponsors to assist him in his journey to the World Championships. Details: 0413 809 229.