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BEN MURDOCH THE REAL DEAL
By Wayne Cousins
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Keebra Park High School rugby league coach coach Greg Lenton has predicted a very bright future for Wests Tigers bound second-rower Ben Murdoch.
Lenton has seen plenty of talent in his 30 years at the school and has overseen the rugby league development of former students Benji Marshall, Ben Te’o and Robert Lui as part of Keebra Park’s rugby league scholarship program with Wests Tigers. Marshall, Te’o and Lui all made their NRL debuts at Wests Tigers.
Keebra Park broke through for its first Arrive Alive Cup premiership title with an 18-12 victory over favourites Matraville Sports High at ANZ Stadium last Friday night. Murdoch will join Keebra Park prop Isaac Lui, Matraville high half-back Liam Ayoub and Matraville winger Faleula Fina at Wests Tigers in 2010.
Wests Tigers also have an option for 2010 on Keebra Park full-back and the Peter Sterling Medal winner Jordan Kahu.
Lenton is confident Murdoch can make it in the NRL. His barnstorming first half try in which he left five defenders behind him had Wests Tigers officials and supporters salivating.
“Ben Murdoch is going to be one of the best back-rowers in the game. He is one of the best young forwards I have ever seen,’’ Lenton said.
“His explosiveness and his speed off the mark is incredible. He has soft hands, good discipline and a fantastic attitude.
“I believe Ben can do phenomenal things in the game. He is going to be something special.”
Lenton said Lui – no relation to Robert Lui - was another young kid with plenty of ability.
“If I could pick a player to go to battle with, it would be Isaac Lui. He is just the most dedicated, hard working and tough as nails forward I’ve seen,’’ he said.
“He never complains, never says boo. You have to whip him to get him out of the gym. If I started a small business tomorrow, I would hire Isaac and I would never have to worry again. He is a great kid.”
Moments after congratulating his players on their premiership victory, Lenton praised Wests Tigers for its dedication to the school.
“Wests Tigers have given Keebra Park tremendous support and that was long before the Titans were on the Gold Coast,’’ Lenton said.
“The school was down and out in 2000 and was going nowhere with its rugby league program. I approached a few NRL clubs and nobody wanted to know me. Then Wests Tigers approached us. They stuck with us when we were only small.
“Wests Tigers came on board through Steve Lavers initially. Recruitment Manager Warren McDonnell and Tim Sheens have since been very supportive. Without Warren and Tim, I don’t know where the school’s rugby league program would be today. And without Wests Tigers, Keebra Park would not be celebrating this victory.”