NORTH Tamworth’s flying winger Callum Hayne has picked up two hat-tricks in as many weeks in only the third game of his first full year of top grade rugby league.
The Farrer schoolboy has come right through the junior ranks at the Bears and got his first taste of first grade football during the finals last year as a 17-year-old.
This season he has already cemented himself a starting position in first grade and had coach Brad McManus call him a “freak”.
While North has been brushing opponents aside so far this season, Hayne can’t wait to get into the tough stuff.
“It has been great playing in firsts but we haven’t really been pushed yet,” Hayne said.
“It will get a bit harder next game against Narrabri and I think West still have enough to give us a go next time.”
Hayne is a top-class finisher, although his real value comes to light when he is given just a bit too much space down the field.
Several times against Diggers and then again against the Panthers, the flyer was given some room and made the opposition pay.
He makes plenty of half-field runs and good metres from kick returns as well.
“It is a bit of a different game to the 18s,” Hayne said.
“I get a lot more off loads and also have to deal with some bigger blokes.”
The North top tryscorer has the benefit of playing on the outside of two of the best centres in the group in Brad Marshall and Zac Russ.
“I get some great balls off the outside of Zac and Brad and we have a great pack as well.”
Next weekend, Hayne will get the chance to re-join a lot of his U18 mates as he lines up for the Group 4 side at the Greater Northern Carnival.
Not only will he benefit from his time in first grade but also from having the same coach.
Bears coach Brad McManus is also coaching the group Under 18 side and likes what he sees.
“They are a pretty handy group of kids and we should do all right,” McManus said.
The winger has been playing in the rep side since he was in U13s.
“It will be good to go back and play with some of my mates from the junior teams,” Hayne said.
“I am mostly looking forward to seeing how I stand up to some of the best juniors around.”