Footy star back where his dad started playing - in Gympie
Rugby League: It will be a dream come true for Gympie Devils player Caleb Daunt when he flies the flag for Gympie in the XXXX Queensland Rangers team this month.
The Daunt name is synonymous with rugby league in Gympie and as a Sunshine Coast Falcons player, Caleb wanted his local club to be the Devils.
"My dad is from Gympie and he and my uncle played footy there until Dad moved to Brisbane,” he said.
"I am too old to play the Former Origin Greats Colts Challenge (Queensland Rugby League junior competition) this year and when I was asked to select a local team by the Falcons I picked Gympie.
"I wanted to go back to where my dad and my family started their footy careers.”
This is the first time Daunt will represent his state in the annual clash against the NSW Pioneers.
"It was always a dream to represent Queensland and I will soak it up and make the most of it because it might be the first and last time I wear the maroon jersey,” he said. "I have spent a lot of this year in the local rugby league competition. I only played round 1 for the Falcons - they are travelling really well and are a tough team to break into.”
As part of Gympie Devils, Daunt was selected to represent the region in the Central Crows team at the recent Queensland Rugby League State Championships.
Rangers coach Glen Dreger is excited about the prospect of working with Daunt and Central Crows five-eighth Cory McGrady after their strong championships performance.
Daunt said he was shocked by his coach's comments.
"It is exciting. Glen saw us (McGrady and Daunt) link up at the carnival playing for the Crows and we had a good partnership,” he said.
"I had never met him and I bunked with him during that four-day carnival and we formed a good connection. When I saw his name on the team list I was happy for him.”
A strong halves partnership is important to any rugby league team and Daunt is confident that he and McGrady have what it takes to battle NSW.
"He was easy to play with. I am a structured half and Cory is an instinct player,” he said. "I would direct the team and Cory would play eyes up and make the most of opportunities of his strong running game.”
Daunt started his career in the hooker/lock position and when he made his debut for the Falcons, moved to halfback.
"I grew up playing in the halves and when I debuted last season I played four games in the halves, four at hooker and one off the bench,” he said.
"It was different (moving positions) because I hadn't played there for a while but I had a bit of an idea. I've enjoyed the transition to get more space and room and have an opportunity to run the footy.”
With any move there are always challenges but Daunt said he had found his groove.
"You have to be vocal and demanding but once I earned the respect within the group and got games under my belt, the talk came after,” he said.
Rangers v NSW Pioneers at Davies Park, Brisbane on June 30 at 11.40am.