Bright future ahead
FROM backyard footy in Clermont to the international stage on European shores, it has been quite a transition for former Clermont footballer Brady Williams to say the least.
The 17-year-old St Brendan's College student, who is just days out of high school, is currently touring with the Australian Institute of Sport under-18 rugby league side through France and the United Kingdom.
Williams is one of three Central Queensland youngsters selected in the program, with Moranbah's Thorne Johnson and Daniel Clarke from Longreach also touring with the 26-man Australian squad.
On Wednesday, the trio played their first of five international matches, winning 40-10 against a French under-19 side.
All three are contracted to the North Queensland Cowboys through scholarship programs and are due to start the 2012 pre-season training with the Cowboys Toyota Cup side when they return.
Williams' playing resume reads like a 30-year veteran of the code, not a school-leaver just starting out in his career, with representative honours listed everywhere from Queensland school sides to the Canterbury Bulldogs and Brisbane Broncos development squads.
A career highlight was captaining this year's St Brendan's 1st XIII.
But all this football has come at a price, with sacrifices forced to be made both on and off the field.
"He missed his valedictory at St Brendan's because he had to go overseas," Mum, Janine said.
Exams were pushed forward, air tickets were bought and he barely had a foot out the gate before boarding a plane bound for England.
And the juggling act is only set to intensify for young Williams when he returns, with immediate surgery required on an injured shoulder.
"He has to have ligaments fixed to his shoulder," Janine said.
"It's not much, it just needs to be tightened before he gets to that next level."
Cowboys' recruitment manager Adrian Thomson said Williams was a leader.
"We don't recruit them unless we think they have got what it takes," he said.
"He's got a real physical approach to the game... he can offer a lot in defence.
"I know he's had a bit of a shoulder problem, but once that's mended it should be just a matter of getting the strength back."
Janine said she couldn't be prouder of what her son had achieved.
"We are very proud of him and how well he has done," she said.
"It's a big honour for these boys, something that they will always be able to look back on no matter what happens in their future football careers."