Former Yamba Buccaneer and current NSW Waratah Jed Holloway was back in town for a junior rugby gala day last week. Photo Matthew McInerney / The Daily Examiner
Former Yamba Buccaneer and current NSW Waratah Jed Holloway was back in town for a junior rugby gala day last week. Photo Matthew McInerney / The Daily Examiner Matthew McInerney

Former Yamba Buccaneer's unbelievable debut year for NSW

A WARATAHS debut, a game against the British and Irish Lions and one try from two games against Argentina.

Not a bad year for a seasoned rugby player - especially the latter two achievements - but an unbelievable debut year for Jed Holloway.

If you told the former Yamba Buccaneer at the start of the year he would accomplish those three things, he would have said you were dreaming and contacted the local mental health facility.

Less than a year later and Holloway is living every junior footballer's dream.

You would expect a 20 year old with a resume like that after one season to have an inflated ego, but Holloway has kept his feet firmly on the ground.

He spoke to The Daily Examiner when he was in town for the Jed Holloway Shield, a primary school rugby union knockout competition held at Yamba Oval that bears his name.

You could see he loved being surrounded by busloads of kids and signing shirts, bag straps and drawing smiley faces on mini footballs - all with his arm in a sling - and later explained how he would have been the same a few years ago.

"It wasn't long ago I was running around out there," Holloway said.

There was a slight interruption as another beaming youngster comes up with a Wallabies poster for Holloway to sign.

The student asked if he is in the photo and Holloway replied he wasn't yet but "maybe one day". The student's dejected "oh" merely brought a smile to Holloway's face.

"I hate disappointing them," he said afterwards.

It is that attitude that separates Holloway from the stereotypical and commonly repeated story about footballers treating their fame with disdain.

The story where young superstars allow their egos to run free and they look down their nose at anyone who tries to tell them otherwise.

Holloway is a down to earth bloke who is living his dream - and is clearly loving every second of it.

A shoulder dislocation that has sidelined the young lock for five months, but Holloway looks at his recovery as just another challenge.

"I did it in a Shute Shield game against Eastwood," he explained.

"I went in to a ruck like I normally do and it didn't feel too good afterwards. I though it was just a stinger but it was hanging out.

"It is a bit of a setback. The shoulder's been driving me mad so it's been good to get away from Sydney for a bit and come back here.

"Lucky it happened when it did because I should only miss some of the pre-season and hopefully not anymore games."

If there was any standout moment for Holloway in 2013 it was the two-game tour of Argentina.

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika selected a young team for the tour, taking advantage of the opportunity to give fringe Waratahs a taste of higher competition.

Holloway said they should have won their first game against the Pumas, where they were beaten by a last minute penalty.

"I have never experienced anything like it," Holloway said.

"It was really good of Cheik to pick a few blokes out of smaller clubs to give us a go and was good to see Drew Mitchell off.

"We really should have won that first game. We had them but they kicked a penalty to win.

"They gave us a bit of a touch up in that second game though."

Whether it is a sign of maturity, long term planning or a fondness for Yamba, Holloway said he planned to return.

"I'd love to come back and retire here," Holloway said.

"Whether it's a year or 10 years from now, it'd be great to come back.

"I've always wanted to have one more year for the Buccaneers as well so I will definitely be back one day."

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