Stanley, Randall eye off big time
AFTER a season of tearing up teams on the local league scene, former Lower Clarence Magpies centre pairing Hughie Stanley and Dan Randall have set their sights on bigger prizes in 2010.
Both have signed NRL contracts, with Stanley, 19, signing with the Sydney Roosters while Randall, 21, is heading further south to link with Craig Bellamy’s Melbourne Storm.
The Bondi club, with help from Stanley’s partner, fended off opposition from the Storm and the Gold Coast to sign the elusive centre.
Arriving from Rockhampton, he spent last season with the Magpies, starring alongside his brother George Jarratt during the club’s title run.
Brian Smith’s connection with the Magpies helped broker the deal.
“I chose this place because of my girlfriend – she likes the Roosters but the club’s also a good club,” Stanley said.
“I thought this is probably my last chance to get a contract.
“At first I thought they were joking around. I thought ‘there’s no way clubs are looking at me’ but when (Roosters recruit manager) Peter O’Sullivan called I started to get excited.”
Both Stanley and Randall have set themselves the goal of breaking into their respective first-grade sides but know a lot of sweat must be lost on the training paddock before then.
“I have set my goal to make the Indigenous team that plays before test matches,” Stanley said.
“I’d also like to play four or five first-grade games.
“I think if you put your mind and your heart into it you can make it.
“My goals are pretty high but I believe I can make it.”
Both players are lifelong South Sydney Rabbitohs fans but Randall admits the chance to play in the nation’s premier rugby league competition – albeit in another team’s strip – was too good to pass up.
“I thought it would be a great opportunity,” he said.
“If I knuckle down there’s a fair chance I could play a couple of games this season.
“I have been at it for four years and the body is ready for it.
“You can’t pick and choose; you just have to grab the chance.”
Stanley is likely to feature at wing or fullback in the under-20 Toyota Cup competition before his chance in the top grade comes.
Hard-hitting Randall will start in the Premier Grade backline but has enough tackling power for a spot in the pack.
Both are still learning their trade in their adopted home towns.
“It’s something I thought completely differently about,” Stanley said.
“The training and the lifestyle is different. It’s a lot faster.
“The standard here is pretty high. You have got to be almost perfect at everything.
“It’s not like back home where you turn up half-an-hour late.
“I have learnt never to be late to training and always listen.”
Magpies boss Garry Anderson admits he will have a tough time replacing two of the stars from his club’s successful 2009 campaign.
But he is wishing the duo the best of luck.
“I see Hughie as in between Greg Inglis and Justin Hodges,” Anderson said.
“He certainly has the potential.
“And Dan is probably one of the hardest hitters. He’s a very hard runner of the ball – probably not as elusive as Hughie so they compliment each other well.
“If he knuckles down I wouldn’t be surprised that we will see Dan Randall in first grade this season.”