Bennett gives Joe Boyce two-year deal with Broncos
SOMEBODY pinch Joe Boyce.
Three years ago he was just a skinny kid playing in Caloundra's A-grade forward pack and in three weeks' time he will be batting the likes of Corey Parker, Sam Thaiday and Matt Gillett on the hallowed training ground of the Brisbane Broncos.
The 21-year-old has signed a two-year deal with Brisbane's 25-man NRL squad, capping a rise so dream-like even the young man himself struggles to get his head around it.
"I can't even put into words how overwhelmed by the idea I am. But, if I had to think of one it would just be 'excited'," the ex-Nambour junior said yesterday.
"I've been dreaming about being a football player since I can remember - my parents have videos of me as a four-year-old saying that all I wanted to do was play football.
"Now that it's happening I don't believe it. I don't think I'll believe it until I'm actually there."
Boyce's path to an NRL deal has been paved as much by sheer opportunism as it has been by physical talent.
The firebrand backrower has made it his mission to squeeze every ounce of potential out of any chance that has come his way.
HIS ambition led to the tough choice as a 17-year-old to leave Nambour, a club close to the Boyce family and where his brother James was player-coach last season, joining Caloundra's senior team in 2011.
His decision paid off after just three games when Penrith scouts watched the Sharks and invited the young lock forward to trial in Sydney with the National Youth Competition team.
Boyce didn't get a Panthers contract, but his performance earned the attention of Newcastle scouts, who offered him an under-20s deal on the spot.
"Pretty much everything I've done in footy has just been an opportunity and I've just made sure I'm ready to take whatever any opportunity is willing to give me," Boyce told the Daily.
His performance in the under-20s earned the attention of Newcastle's then-coach Wayne Bennett, who made the young forward one of the few Knights players to join him on his celebrated return to Red Hill.
On November 1 Boyce will begin training with his new club and he believes it won't be long before another opportunity comes his way.
His first goal is to play Auckland Nines in the pre-season and his second is to make his NRL debut, which may come when Brisbane faces its annual player drain during the State of Origin period.