Casino rolls dice with signing
AT the age of 14, Leeds rugby league front-rower George Clark was already tipped to become the next Jamie Peacock.
And that was straight from the English captain himself.
Clark, 19, has now arrived in Australia with dreams of following the likes of English hard-men Sam Burgess, Gareth Ellis and James Graham and will make his NRL debut for the Canterbury Bulldogs against the Penrith Panthers on Saturday night.
But first Clark will have to make a name for himself in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League competition when he runs out for the Casino Cougars this season.
Clark has linked with the club straight from the Leeds Rhinos Junior Academy where he was coached by English Super League players including Peacock - who helped lead the Rhinos to victory against Manly in the World Club Challenge less than a fortnight ago.
"He (Peacock) has always been a good mentor and it was an honour when he tipped me to become the next Jamie Peacock," Clark said.
"So many guys have come over and cracked NRL now so that will be my goal.
"There are so many class players in England and Sam Burgess is a hero of mine."
Clark is happy to be in the front row with Luke Scott and Scott Gibson who will both play their first games for the club this season.
Scott and Gibson last played together at the Mullumbimby Giants in 2009.
Scott, 38, played more than 30 first-grade games for the North Queensland Cowboys in the NRL before spending five seasons with the Redcliffe Dolphins in the Queensland Cup competition.
"To play 30 games in the NRL is an amazing achievement and if I can make anywhere near that I'll be happy," Clark said.
"If he can take me under his wing for a season I'll be thrilled."
"Jacob Mayer is another big strong lad up front but I think Gibbo is going to be the standout player this year."
Clark admits he will be feeling the nerves when the season kicks off on April 14.
He hopes to able to showcase his offload, a skill that helped him become one of the best front-rowers in the Leeds Academy.
"They seemed really keen to get some new players here and hopefully I can live up it," Clark said.