Harry Rushton makes his debut today.
It’s been a long road for the young man. He’s come halfway around the world to play football. He shifted a life he’d barely begun to establish, moving to a new country, new hemisphere, far away from any support networks he might have.
He moved to pursue a dream in a highly competitive field where many had failed before. At the same age most of us were focused on almost anything other than our professional dreams. But Harry took on a challenge that has stumped many. By all reports he did so with humility, hard work, and a quiet determination that one cannot help but admire.
He turned from prospect to first grader in barely 18 months. Despite moving halfway around the world. Despite coming into the most difficult environment of his chosen profession, as well as a pretty challenging team environment. That’s he’s come so far so fast is as much a testament to fire in his belly as it is to the talent in his hands and legs.
It’s the kind of courage and resilience that this Canberra team desperately needs. So much of recent times has seen the team faulter when times have got tough. When the need has come for the side to dig in and fight they’ve not been able to find that grind. That will. That hardiness that has characterised almost every good team in NRL history has had in buckets. The determination that has distinguished their coach as a player and leader has been confusingly absent.
Perhaps Harry’s resilience with rub off on his teammates. We’ve written in the past about his many other skills. He’s plenty mobile. He’s got a great passing game and a high football IQ. He’s creative and hardworking and hopefully brings some agility and imagination to Canberra’s middle. But maybe also some of his attitude helps the Milk find a path to greater perseverance.
That’s not to say Rushton will be the spine in the spirit of the Raiders. You can’t ask a 20 year old to do that. There are people that have been doing this for years in the Canberra team that need to step up and prove that the grit and determination needed to succeed is still flowing through their veins. Harry will play his part and do his job, and that’s all we can ask.
He may not change Canberra’s fortunes today, and he certainly won’t change them by himself, but we can’t help but be glad that he’s playing. He’s come so far literally, and figuratively, not just because of his talent but also because of his resilience. He’s proven himself worthy within the walls at Canberra HQ. Now we look forward to him showing the world.
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