YOUNG Albury Thunder forward Jon Huggett has credited the help of the club’s star-studded pack for his emergence as a regular first-grade player this season.
Huggett, 22, hasn’t looked out of place playing alongside some of Group 9 rugby league’s biggest names and is desperate to cap off a break-out season with a grand final win against Gundagai on Sunday.
“When I first started playing, Josh (Cale) took me under his wing,” Huggett said.
“Our pack just works really well together — I love it.
“I’m the only local in the forward pack and, considering the rest of the boys in there have played in Sydney, I have learnt a lot over the past few years.
“They have definitely helped me with technique things and I’m pretty happy to have held my spot in such a good side.”
Huggett deserves a little credit as well.
Like most of his teammates, he started training last November in a bid to keep up with the likes of Lou Goodwin, Mitch Davis, Mark Walsham and Andrew Cowhan.
“He’s a good honest kid and a real character in the side,” Cale said.
“Sometimes he goes unnoticed with the other blokes in the side, but he’s come along in leaps and bounds and is always willing to learn.
“I remember we played him for a game back in 2009 when he was a kid and each year he has got better.
“You could see plenty of potential back then even.”
Huggett, who moved to the Border from Orange as a 15-year-old, has improved markedly from the experience of playing in last year’s premiership and is steeling himself for a mighty Gundagai challenge.
He rates the Tigers’ pack highly, with Peter Magnone and company shaping as formidable opponents.
“They will come out firing,” Huggett said.
“Gundagai is always quick out of the blocks.
“They are solid across the park and will go nuts early.”
Gundagai prop Kieran Pearce likes the Tigers’ chances of upsetting Albury.
“In the first round we were underdone and they got out to a big lead early and we just couldn’t rein them in,” Pierce said.
“Second time we played them we tried hard and Albury at Albury is a big task but we matched them for most of the game.
“We’ve got the side to do it.”