Boardman making mark
DANIEL Boardman is making up for lost time on the rugby pitch - and has made a decent start.
The inside centre was among the standout performers in his North Coast side's trial matches against Sunshine Coast.
Players in the under-15 and under-17 age groups took part in Saturday's matches, which were warm-ups for the forthcoming Junior Gold Cup tournament.
Ballina player Boardman only took up union about two years ago but may now have booked a berth alongside some of the country's top juniors with his eye-catching performance.
"I like how union is forward moving," the 16-year-old said. "You are always on the go.
"I think you get yourself involved a lot more, so your fitness has to be good.
"I'm enjoying it."
A strong contingent of FNC representatives played in the matches before a sizeable crowd at Wollongbar's Lyle Park.
No official scores were kept for the games, which were contrasting affairs.
The North Coast under-15s dominated the first match to take victory.
It was a different story in the second game, with the powerful Queenslanders running in five tries to claim the win.
Other handy performers for North Coast in the second match included try scorer Vaughan Sandral and Tyronne Roberts-Davis, who made some impressive breaks.
Boardman, who crossed over for the North Coast during the match, said it had been a good learning experience at least.
"It was pretty tough," Boardman, of Skennars Head's Xavier Catholic College, said.
"We've not had too many combinations together, but I thought we went well."
The North Coast squad has been training since November for the Gold Cup.
Some of the best young players from across the country will feature in the 24-team contest, with matches over the next few weeks.
Training sessions have focused on strength and conditioning.
"They've been killing us," Boardman said with a smile. "We've been doing so much fitness (work).
"It's been tough but I've improved my game already."
North Coast gets its campaign under way against Brisbane Orange next weekend.