He may be viewed as "the one that got away" by many in Canberra rugby circles, but Tyrel Lomax knows he was always destined to wear a black jersey. Despite being born in the ACT, Lomax spent much of his childhood in New Zealand and grew up dreaming of playing for the All Blacks. The Brumbies, and Rugby Australia, were always fighting an uphill battle to keep him on our shores. For many, that doesn't diminish the disappointment of losing one of the country's most promising front rowers six years ago, Lomax joining the Hurricanes and developing into a key cog of the All Blacks forward pack. So while the prop returns to Canberra this weekend determined to end the Brumbies' season, he will always remember the role the franchise played in developing him into a Test footballer. "Coming over in 2011 when my family moved over I wanted to be a rugby league player," Lomax said. "The Brumbies pathway changed me into a rugby player and I'm grateful for them. That's where my Super Rugby career started, as a development player with the Brumbies. "Going back home, it was where I wanted to play my international football. I always considered myself a New Zealander and always thought if I was good enough to play international rugby, I wanted it to be with the All Blacks." Lomax sits atop a list of Brumbies pathways players currently representing other nations, Mack Hansen and Guy Porter playing for Ireland and England respectively. It's a sign the franchise's development pathway is working effectively, both a blessing and a curse when it comes to retaining players. Hooker Connal McInerney played alongside Lomax as a junior and in 2021 achieved his own international dream, this time in a gold jumper. The forward has watched as the Brumbies have developed a host of Wallabies and he's pleased the club has largely retained the pathways products. Brothers Ryan and Lachlan Lonergan sit atop the list, with Rory Scott another Canberra talent developing into a key cog in the Super Rugby team. McInerney re-signed with the Brumbies for another season earlier this year and the hooker said the club's pathways have played a key role in ensuring the team remains ahead of their Australian rivals. "It's one of the best places in the world to play rugby," McInerney said. "We have the upper hand here in Canberra, as opposed to other big cities, that a lot of us only live five minutes away from each other. We get to catch up on days off and a lot of the boys come into headquarters to do their extras. "It creates a tight-knit group, of course the boys want to stay here in the system. It's getting better the more locals that are signing on and staying here at the Brumbies. It's a great place to play footy and a great place to hang out with mates." We've made it a whole lot easier for you to have your say. Our new comment platform requires only one log-in to access articles and to join the discussion on The Canberra Times website. Find out how to register so you can enjoy civil, friendly and engaging discussions. See our moderation policy here.