Bundy's Laybutt is ready for the prime time
WHEN Mick Laybutt saw his son Kyle play junior rugby league in Bundaberg he knew then the North Queensland Cowboy player could be something special.
A coach in Bundaberg for the past 19 years, including in A-Grade for Wests, Mick has seen his fair of talent in the local competition.
Now, more than a decade later as his son prepares to make his debut against Parramatta on Saturday, he recalls even from an early age Kyle had what it took to go far.
"He picked up skills and he read the game quicker than most kids get at that early age,” he said.
"One day I pulled him aside and said he's got everything he's just got to work on his defence.
"He's worked on that extremely well and this is his biggest asset at the moment.”
But it hasn't always been smooth sailing.
A lack of confidence and injuries hampered the Wests and Easts player in his early teens before homesickness ended a contract with the Canterbury Bulldogs after impressing in an open school boys carnival.
The 21-year-old then returned to Bundaberg to play A-Grade before the Cowboys gave him a shot.
"He decided to go to the Sunshine Coast and teams spotted him,” Mick said.
"The Cowboys asked him to come up for a week to train and trial and the rest is history.”
Mick is confident if Kyle plays this weekend, which depends on Johnathan Thurston's shoulder injury, he could take the opportunity with both hands.
"He played in a trial game in Bundaberg last year against the Broncos and matched it defensively against some guys that have gone on to play Origin,” he said.
"I think he'll handle it and make every post a winner.”
Kyle's father will also be there if he plays.
"If he's 100% playing it looks like I will be going to Darwin,” he said.
"Kyle's pretty excited but pretty level headed.
"He's worked hard for this and he's taken the long way I suppose which makes it extra special.”
Kyle will find out in the next 48 hours if he plays.