MATHEW Brady has earned one of the most illustrious honours touch football can offer, despite having played the game for only two years.
The Gunnedah Bulldogs halfback has been selected in the Northern Eagles squad for the annual National Touch League in Coffs Harbour next month.
Selection in the squad came after the Gunnedah native represented his hometown at the NSW State Cup last year.
Brady said he was "learning a lot" by training with the Eagles squad in Macksville.
"I never really played the game as a kid," Brady told the Leader.
"I've always played rugby league and when I was younger, I played a bit of rugby union, but never ventured near the touch field until I got a bit older.
"To be honest, I think that's why I'm enjoying it so much.
"I'm feeling refreshed because I'm learning a lot of new things and trying to get to the next level all the time.
"At the moment, I'm really enjoying my touch footy - that's for sure."
Brady said his experience representing Gunnedah had left him hungry for further representative honours.
"Representative footy is quite a bit different than just your weekly park football," he said.
"It's really structured, there's a flow to the game and the fitness you need, despite not being on the ground for long, is really high as well.
"There's a lot of changes between the two, that's for sure."
The 25-year-old's selection in the squad was sealed after an impressive performance at a recent trial at Macksville.
"Basically, all I want to get out of the experience of representing the Northern Eagles is to have fun and learn as much as I can," Brady said.
"You're going to be playing against the best in Australia at this level, so I think you're bound to learn a lesson or two from that.
"I've already taken so much out of just that one session in Macksville because the coaching there is so good.
"The stuff they focus on, such as structures, body positioning and strategy, is really refreshing to learn."
Brady said he was hopeful he could transfer that knowledge to pre-season training with the Bulldogs.
"I think it already has changed the way I play my footy a bit," he said.
"It helps me have a better understanding of things we can do better and things other teams might be trying to do against us.
"Little details can make a great difference. So if I can pass them on to people back home, it will be a big benefit."
Brady is not the only local product to be selected in the side.
"Jermain and I get along pretty well and there's always a lot of good conversation during our trips to go and play together," Brady said.
"He and I have already benefited quite a lot from touch footy.
"In fact, when we first travelled up to Macksville the coach welcomed us into the family home, because he knew how far we had to travel.
"There's a lot of really great people in the sport, who had already made this experience so good."
The National Touch League competition will run from March 11 to 14 at Coffs Harbour.