A 24-hour flight covering over 10,000 miles was not enough to stop new Dewsbury Moor Maroons recruit Braden Hunter from pulling on his boots for training last Thursday (August 31), just two hours after his plane hit the tarmac at Manchester Airport.
Twenty-one-year-old Hunter, originally from Birstall, has spent the past eight months playing rugby league in southwest New South Wales for the Tumbarumba Greens, within a tiny town populated by under 2,000 people at the western edge of the Snowy Mountains.
The Greens’ season finished in August, allowing Hunter the chance to come back home and help the Maroons in their push for promotion into NCL Division Two.
Despite landing just two hours before training last Thursday, Hunter attended the session that evening and then went on to help his side in their 40-22 away win over Eastmoor Dragons last Saturday, even crossing for a try.
Prior to his venture down under, Hunter had experience playing for teams including the Great Britain BARLA U23 and U19 sides, Mirfield Stags, Birstall Victoria and Drighlington.
Now he is hoping to take what he has learnt in Australia into his performances for the Maroons.
“The standard of rugby out there was the highest I’ve played at, it’s so quick and physical and you always have to be ready for anything,” said Hunter.
“I wasn’t going to play when I got back to give myself a rest, but I knew Moor were pushing for promotion to the next division.
“I’m hoping to add to their success and take them up, I’m keen to show what I have learnt in Australia.
“My personal performance wasn’t the best on Saturday, I was still jet lagged, but I did manage to score a try which was a good feeling,” he said.
Hunter is hoping to travel back to Tumbarumba for next season’s XXXX Gold Group 9 Competition after Christmas.