Young Dolphin makes impact
ASK anyone in Far North Coast Rugby Union and they will tell you Jake McIntyre has a big future in the sport.
The 17-year-old was a shining light in a losing effort when the Far North Coast Dolphins went down 33-15 to Central Coast in the first round of the NSW Country Championships at Crozier Field, Lismore, on Saturday.
The Wollongbar-Alstonville five-eighth took an intercept on the Dolphins' 30m line and raced away before off-loading to winger Duncan Maguire, who scored the first try of the match for FNC.
The decision to put young McIntyre at five-eighth following the departure of Ben Damen was an easy one for Dolphins coach John Jenkins.
"The kid is a terrific footballer," Jenkins said.
"He handled the physical side of things pretty well and he'll learn from these sorts of experiences.
"He has a big future and I hope he sticks at it."
Dolphins No 8 and captain Jeff Wilson agrees.
"Jakey stepped up and you forget that he is only 17," Wilson said.
"He is a solid defender and good decision maker."
McIntyre had a breakout season in 2011 that culminated in him representing the Australian Schoolboys' team.
He played a starring role when the Australian side defeated New Zealand Schools 26-19 last October.
The Alstonville High School student scored a try, kicked a conversion and kicked a penalty goal for a personal tally of 10 points in that game.
It was the ultimate reward for McIntyre, who forced his way into the side after missing out on NSW Combined High Schools selection and instead played for Combined States, a team made up of New South Wales and Queensland secondary school players and the best of those from non-rugby-orientated states such as Victoria and Western Australia.
"I was pretty disappointed not to make that team when they picked it (2010) and that really drove me in the off-season," McIntyre said.
"I think I've matured more and become more physical on the field."
It came only weeks after he was stretchered off the field playing for FNC at the NSW Under-17 Country Championships.
He recovered from the soft-tissue injury in time for the Australian Schoolboys and helped lead his Wollongbar under-17 and U-19 teams to FNC premierships in September.
McIntyre will head to Wyong this weekend as FNC aims to take out the second-tier Richardson Shield in the finals of the NSW Country Championships.