Alex on big stage last night
By ADRIAN MILLER
THE life of a representative footballer is hectic just ask Lennox lad Alex Butschies.
The 17-year-old Xavier Catholic College student last night played for the NSW Under-17 rugby league side against Queensland in the curtain-raiser to the State of Origin in Sydney. NSW Under-17s won 52-18.
It was a big ask running out in front of a near sold-out Telstra Stadium, but the lead-up to the game was just as tough.
When The Northern Star spoke to Butschies last week, he'd just landed in Sydney for a training session and medical. Three hours after that he flew back to Ballina to go to school on Thursday and Friday before flying back to Sydney on Saturday where he spent the rest of the week in camp.
But even though it was a busy schedule, Butschies was thrilled he had made the team.
"I'm over the moon, just really stoked," he said.
"I was surprised to make it because there were only two country players picked in the squad so I wasn't expecting to make it."
Butschies, a second-rower who's an almost impregnable force in the defensive line, came off the bench in the NSW win.
He's been courted by numerous NRL clubs he would prefer to be signed by Cronulla so he could stay near the beach and is a potential star of the future.
He played for NSW Combined Catholic Colleges two years ago, is now part of the Australian Institute of Sport rugby league program and will head to Fiji at the end of June after he was selected in the NSW Country Rugby League Under-18s team.
But for all that success, last night was his focus.
"I'm expecting it to be the toughest game of my life," he said before the game. "It's pretty scary thinking about it now but I'm looking forward to the game and the crowd." And his strategy for the game? "I'm just going to go nuts," he said.