GRAFTON Redmen hooker John King's last-minute call-up to the NSW Country Colts rugby union team promises to be a gift that keeps giving in the coming season.
King, who late last year was picked in the NSW Country under-18 team to tour Spain, has gone one better and will play the last game in the Cockatoos' southern states under-20s campaign this morning.
John's dad and Far North Coast under-20s coach, Tony King, said his son has been playing about 20 minutes a game for the Cockatoos, who had experienced a mixed tour.
"They got a fair touch-up 39-7 from the Western Force in the first game," Tony said.
"But they had a good win yesterday 30-odd to nil against South Australia and play Queensland Country tomorrow morning."
Redmen president Craig Howe said any representative honours coming John's way were well earned.
"He's everything you want in a rugby player," Howe said.
"He's just tough and never stops. He's a front-rower and hooker who can play anywhere in the forwards, even No.8.
"When he stepped up into grade football last year, despite his age he never looked out of place like a kid can sometimes do against men."
Howe said King's experience with the under-18s and the Cockatoo Colts would be a valuable asset for the Redmen in 2015.
"It looks like we'll get a full season out of him this year," he said.
"You're playing good rugby when you get into the Cockatoos. The experience will toughen him up and he'll learn a lot about the game."
Howe said the 18 year old would be in the mix for a first-grade spot with the Redmen.
"After playing 20s with the Cockatoos he would be in the plans," he said.
"That's unless a scout from a Sydney club doesn't pick him up in Adelaide."
John King, Nathan McPherson and Ryan Cotton represented the NSW Country under-18s in Spain
Lewis Cooper is in the North Coast Academy Squad along with several Yamba players
Caleb Barker was voted best back at the Country under-13s carnival.