Bundaberg's Ben Marschke lived his childhood dream on Easter Monday, donning the red, white and blue jersey as the Sydney Roosters took on the Warriors at the SCG.
It was the ex-Shalom College student's debut performance in the NRL, with the young gun making twelve tackles in his seventeen minutes on the field while a crowd of supporters roared from the stands.
“All my friends and family came out, and they were nice and loud as well,” Marschke said at a recent press conference.
“I’m really grateful they came out and showed their support.
“It was an unbelievable experience, it’s something you dream about as a kid.
“It’s such a historical club to be a part of and to be in the same team as some of your mates and your idols at the same time is unreal.”
The moment happened in the blink of an eye, according to the 23-year-old, who said he was only given the news that he would be named on the bench on Saturday.
“It was such a surreal feeling,” he said.
“I called mum and then dad straight after, they sort of told the whole family.
“The old man was speechless, same with mum – as you would be.
“It’s been a long time coming, I’m a bit older as well and I think it was a sigh of relief really.”
Shalom College principal congratulates Ben on footy success
Principal of Shalom College, Dan McMahon congratulated Marschke on his debut performance and said the former student had always shown great passion for sport.
Marschke attended the college from Year 10 to Year 12, in 2012 to 2014, along with his twin brother Jesse.
“Both boys were great to have at Shalom and, not surprisingly, loved their sport– any sport,” Mr McMahon said.
“Ben played half back for the Shalom Open Rugby League team in both Year 11 and 12 while Jesse played in the centres.
“The team did very well in 2014 and won the Open Boys Qld Country championship which had Shalom play RL powerhouse, Palm Beach Currumbin SHS in the Final.”
Mr McMahon said Marschke was a gifted athlete during his school years and could turn his hand at any sport.
“I wondered if he would be lured to AFL where his natural speed and dexterity really stood out,” he said.
“But NRL was the love for both boys and they have been with the Roosters since leaving school.
“It is just great to see a young man whose dream it has always been to play first grade rugby league, achieve that goal.”
Mr McMahon said Ben's story was one of grit and determination and showed how working hard could result in achieving your dream.
“So many young people have dreams to play first grade football or to become an actor or to dance or play music professionally,” he said.
“There are not that many of them though, who are prepared to put in the number of hours involved in practice or to endure the setbacks and disappointments that inevitably come along the way.
“It is just wonderful to see a young man who has been prepared to do the hard work involved and who has dealt with the disappointments, achieve his goal.”
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