Cowboy Hoare learns from the best
IF SAM Hoare needs advice on carving out a career in the NRL's engine room, he doesn't have to look too far at the North Queensland Cowboys.
The Rockhampton Brothers junior completed his first week of full contact training with the Cowboys last week after a season-ending knee injury ruined his 2011 campaign in Townsville.
One of the stars of North Queensland's under-20s team since joining the Cowboys stable in 2009, Hoare required a knee reconstruction after round six of the Toyota Cup.
Regarded as a long-term prospect at the Cowboys, the rising front-row star has been promoted to the club's full-time NRL squad for the first time in 2012.
Speaking from Townsville in between training sessions yesterday, Hoare said he was looking forward to a big season after being given the green light to return to the field last week.
"When we came back from the Christmas break last week I got into full contact. I was only able to take part in conditioning sessions before Christmas," Hoare said.
"Training's been going good so there's a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.
"The physio is happy with how it's going and it hasn't been giving me too much pain."
Hoare, who turns 21 in August, is determined to repay the faith shown by the Cowboys and follow in the footsteps of another CQ product, Queensland, Australian and recently voted the world's No.1 prop Matthew Scott.
"I'm really happy up here and this year is a good opportunity to get a run in the NRL," he said.
"I've got to just keep going and work hard to repay that faith. Matty's been voted the best front-rower in the world and to learn off him will only take my game forward."
While the NRL and Indigenous All Stars are preparing do battle at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast on February 4, Hoare is also looking forward to hitting the field that weekend.
The Cowboys young gun is shooting to play in the club's first trial game against the Broncos on February 4 at Redcliffe's Dolphin Oval.
The Cowboys' two other NRL trials are against the Dragons in Perth on February 11 and Titans in Mackay on February 18 ahead of their NRL season kick-off against the Gold Coast at Dairy Farmers Stadium on March 3.
"I'm looking forward to getting back on the field and having a big year," said Hoare, whose older brother, Jared, is a member of the CQ Capras squad.
With competition heating up for spots in the North Queensland forward pack, Hoare could find himself lining up in the Intrust Super Cup (Queensland Cup) in round one for Cowboys' feeder-club Mackay Cutters.
And if Hoare has any mental demons about returning from a serious knee injury, he doesn't have to look too far at the Cowboys as well, with Queensland and Australian star Brent Tate lending his support.
"I was a bit nervous when I first got back out there on the field but he has been really supportive, obviously having three ACL ruptures during his career," Hoare said.
But for now, Cowboys fans should keep an eye out for the name Sam Hoare, there's a good chance he will make his mark in the NRL in 2012.
Date of birth: August 12, 1981
Junior club: Rockhampton Brothers
Pre-season goal: Rehab my knee and get as fit as possible
Pre-season diet: Plenty of lean meat and vegies
Goal for 2012: Stay injury free and make NRL debut
Favourite player of all time: Steve Price
Career highlight: Every game at Dairy Farmers Stadium
Earliest rugby league memory: Playing footy in the backyard with my brother
Biggest lesson rugby league has taught you: Focus on the things you can control
Message to junior players: Always do your best