Benjamin Lovett signs contract with South Sydney Rabbitohs under 20s

WHAT A YEAR: After a mammoth 2019 season for Benjamin Lovett, the 17-year-old has now signed a two-year contract with the Rabbitohs.
WHAT A YEAR: After a mammoth 2019 season for Benjamin Lovett, the 17-year-old has now signed a two-year contract with the Rabbitohs.

Come next year. Parkes Spacemen junior Benjamin Lovett will be swapping his red, white and blue jersey for a new colour.

The 17-year-old has signed a two-year contract with the South Sydney Rabbitohs, joining its Jersey Flegg under 20s squad in the 2020 season.

Lovett is excited for the future but isn't about to become complacent - he knows he still has a lot of work ahead of him.

"I'll go to Sydney next year, my hope is to make the final cut for the team," he said.

"You have to play well and train well to make the final selection - from there I'll have the opportunity to play in the Canterbury Cup.

"That's a big opportunity.

"It's a bit nerve racking but I'm going to have a good crack."

Lovett was invited to trial with the Rabbitohs last year and had been offered a contract in their under 18s side then.

But it would have meant him finishing his schooling in Sydney and he wasn't 100 per cent sure that's what he wanted to do.

"It was a bit hard because I was going into Year 12 and I didn't want to miss playing in the under 18s in Parkes," Lovett said.

"I have plenty of time so I decided to finish my footy in Parkes and finish my HSC here this year."

Lovett, who attends Red Bend Catholic College, sat his first HSC exam yesterday.

He said he has no plans for further study as yet, he's just focusing on his footy for the moment.

And his next big gig is as early as next month when the NSW Country under 18s head to England for two weeks on tour.

Lovett earned a spot in the side following brilliant representations with the Western Rams in this year's Laurie Daley Cup country championship - even when he was playing out of his regular positions of lock and second row, and in the centres.

Lovett has had a big and impressive footy season this year, turning heads across multiple levels of the game and being recognised as a standout player.

At the Parkes Spacemen annual presentation night on September 14, the under 18s gun was named the club's Most Outstanding Junior Player, accepting the Steve Sullivan Memorial Award and shared the Mick Bonham Award - Most Tries in the Season by a Junior with Benji Glasheen.

But the award that really took Lovett by surprise was the 2019 Jock Colley Memorial Rookie of the Year in first grade.

"That one was a bit surprising because I only played a few games in first grade," he said.

"I'd like to say a big thanks to the Spacemen - I've been playing with them since I was 7-8 years old so it's a big thing to finish with them.

"And to finish like that, I'm very happy with that."

The accolades didn't stop there - Lovett was also named joint Group 11 Junior of the Year with Campbell Woolnough from Forbes.

According to the Spacemen, Lovett is the second junior from Parkes in three years to win the award.

"The Group 11 award was huge and I'm good mates with Campbell so to win that with my mate was pretty special, it was awesome," he said.

All this combined with his first Western Rams and Country Rugby League representations in the 18s, being named the Rams' under 18s Players Player and Best and Fairest, as well as captaining the Red Bend side to victory in the NSW Combined Catholic Colleges Cup just last month - it's certainly been a memorable season for Lovett.