Kelly Sironen rolling on the footy dynasty

Mireille Merlet-Shaw

KELLY Sironen has some big footy boots to fill - but he's making good progress.

The 16-year-old is expected to line up for his Northern Rivers Academy squad against its Gold Coast Tigers Development counterparts this Sunday.

Skennars Head-based Kelly is following a fine family tradition of former NRL stars and top players.

Right now, though, he is just thinking about giving the Tigers something to think about.

"I'm really excited," he said. "I'm quite nervous as well.

"It will interest to see kids who might be on their way to becoming future NRL players - and if I'm anywhere near their level."

About 40 of the region's most promising players are with the academy, which helps develop potential future NRL aces.

This Sunday's encounter is the final hit-out for the squad before facing other Country academies to complete the 2013-14 scheme.

It has been a busy off-season for the group, who have participated in regular training sessions and met top players and coaches.

"I think it has really helped my game," Kelly, said.

"I've learned a lot of new skills and met new people.

"You get to hear different coaches and learn new perspectives."

The front and second-rower has been part of the Ballina Seagulls club for more than a decade.

The dedicated Year 11 student at Xavier Catholic College Kelly can usually be found helping around the grounds when not on the pitch.

"It's a massive part of my life," he said. "I feel the club is almost part of my family."

Kelly is the latest in an impressive roll call of fine players from his family. The list includes his uncle Paul, who played New South Wales Origin and 21 Tests.

Cousin Curtis is on the books of Wests Tigers and has made several NRL appearances.

"I don't really feel pressure (to follow their footsteps)," Kelly said.

"I know my family would do everything to help me, but they wouldn't be disappointed if I stopped playing.

"It's incredible to think how big an opportunity it is. I'm just trying to stay humble about it all."

This Sunday's action takes place at Cudgen Leagues Club in Wommin Bay Rd, Kingscliff from 4pm.

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