In the highlight of his career to date, Red Bend Catholic College graduate Billy Burns has been named in the NSW Under-20 squad to take on Queensland in the 2018 Holden State of Origin III curtain-raiser on Wednesday.
“Definitely a highlight for this age,” the 19-year-old said.
“Obviously representing Australia in Schoolboys was up there, it was my country, but this is a pretty good achievement as well.
The former Parkes Marist junior debuted with the Under 20s Penrith Panthers in June 2016, after signing with the side in November 2015.
Burns enjoyed an impressive junior career with numerous representative honours including Group XI, Western Rams, and NSW Country.
Burns was a member of the Red Bend Catholic College side who finished second in NSW and broke into the Parkes Spacemen first grade team when he was just 16.
“I didn’t play first grade until I finished my rep footy for that year, though,” he said.
“I didn’t want to risk getting injured before I played Country.
“Playing first grade was pretty exciting, it was a good experience, especially with Denis Moran and all the guys I looked up to while playing junior footy. It was good to have a run with them.”
Billy is right at home with the Panthers and says things are going well.
“I’ve been playing cup this year, getting my few games in Reserves and doing a fair bit of training with the NRL Squad,” he said.
“It’s all positive at the moment, just riding the wave.”
It’s all positive at the moment, just riding the waveBilly Burns
Of course his ultimate goal would be to run on in First Grade.
“Playing Firsts for Penrith would be a dream come true,” Burns said.
“They’ve just been such a good club, when I first moved down here they were so welcoming.
“If you ask any of the boys that have moved down here from the country, they all say they have been such a good club.”
The NSW Under-20 squad will travel to Brisbane on Monday in preparation for the fixture.
The Under-20 State of Origin clash at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium will kick off at 5.15pm.