McDonogh on NRL radars after debut first grade year
AS two stars prepare to hang up their boots another champion Grafton Ghost of the future has arrived on the scene.
To anyone who has paid close attention to the Ghosts' junior ranks in the last few years, Jayden McDonogh's potential is not groundbreaking news.
He has always been a leader of the pack, and is as hard-hitting and uncompromising as even the most battle-hardened first graders.
McDonogh announced himself early in the season with several strong performances, and in the process completely bypassed the under-18s to become a regular in the top grade.
It was the Round 10 game against Coffs Comets that saw McDonogh put under the strongest of challenges.
Coffs looked certain to score when the 17-year-old threw his right arm out and caught the Comet high.
While he stopped a certain try and gave away a penalty, he also set himself up for punishment for the rest of the game.
"I remember that high tackle," McDonogh said.
"He fell into it. At my height I can't hit high.
"You get used to the extra attention being one of the younger guys. It works well for me though because it brings the best out of me.
It's his tendency to fight fire with fire rather than surrender that has put the young forward on the radar of NRL clubs Cronulla Sharks and Gold Coast Titans.
He will trial with both clubs later this year, but beforehand has a Group 2 premiership to win, then has to safely navigate his HSC.
With so much time between the end of the season and his club trials, McDonogh will keep training well after his first senior grand final.