Clay Frendin's planned exit from Tamworth has nothing to do with his work environment: labouring next his father, David, at the latter's Country Combat Plumbing.
"A lot of people ask about it," the third-year apprentice said of their working relationship. "But we work really well together; it's a good father-son relationship."
The "good banter" between the two never escalated into something more serious, Frendin, 19, said.
The work aspect of the relationship will end this year if Frendin pulls the trigger and chases his dream: living in Newcastle and playing first grade there.
His father played top grade for the Terrigal Sharks, before becoming a mixed martial arts champion and founding Frendin MMA in Tamworth.
"It's gonna be tough," Frendin said of severing working ties with his dad (it's just the two of them on jobs). But it's what I wanna do, and he's happy for me to do that."
Frendin - the Greater Northern Tigers No 9 in 2019 - plans to relocate to Newcastle with his good friend and Cowboys teammate, Mitch Bowen.
"My goal is to play first grade there [Newcastle]," he said. "Obviously start at the bottom and work my way up ... If I got to play further on [such as NSW Cup], that would be awesome."
The McCarthy Catholic College alumnus is also mates with Trent Taylor, another Cowboy.
Taylor was pushing for a Knights contract last year, before the Jersey Flegg season was cancelled due to COVID. He ended up playing for South Newcastle's under-19 side, whom Frendin is eyeing as a possible club.
Frendin, who moved from Ourimbah to Tamworth in 2012, joined the Cowboys' under-18 side in 2018 after being a Roosters and Bears junior. He locked down a first-grade wing spot at Dungowan in 2019, but plans to wear the No 9 in 2021.
The Cowboys travel to Boggabri for a trial match on Saturday, ahead of the May 1 season launch.
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