Strapping on his football boots as a seven-year-old, Blake Powter never imagined that – less than a decade later – he’d be heading to training camps for the Bulldogs.
The Shalom College student has been given the opportunity of a lifetime after signing a two-year development contract with the NRL team.
At just 15 years of age Blake and his family never thought he’d be given a chance so young.
It's an opportunity that has him on the right track to play rugby league at a national level.
After spending last weekend on the Gold Coast training at an invitational development camp Blake said it was good experience and he enjoyed being with the other Queensland squad players.
“I’ve played footy pretty much forever,” Blake said.
“Going to the Gold Coast was a good experience – Gus Gould gave us our jerseys, which was unexpected and really cool.”
Blake said he was grateful for the opportunities extended to him through Shalom College and the Bulldogs.
“I hope to make it all the way now that I have been given the opportunity and I’m on the right path to do it,” Blake said.
“I dedicate a lot of my time to training – four or more times during the week and a game on the weekend.
“My goal is to one day play for the Bulldogs.”
Positioned as fullback Blake is the last line of defence and he enjoys being able to support the forward line.
Blake’s mother Nakita said her son was said to be one of the fittest on ground at the developmental camp and the future looked bright for him.
“Growing up Blake made the rep teams for his age every year, he’s passionate, and it is his dream,” she said.
“So, I said to him ‘no matter what mate, I will help’, but neither of us expected it to happen so soon – it’s amazing.”
Nikita said it was fortunate that NRL Bulldogs Football Club board director Andrew Gifford lived in the Bundaberg Region and had seen her son in action.
He became the missing link to help Blake achieve his sporting dream.
“Blakey was just a little country boy from Delan, and we didn’t think he’d be noticed this early – we always knew he’d be seen but we never expected it to be this fast,” she said.
“Blakey started at Woodford (Stanley River) Wolves in Under-7s, before we moved up here and he joined Under-7s with Brothers – he has always had talent, he may seem little, but he is stocky and very fast!”
Blake Powter a natural talent
Andrew said the young Shalom College student showed a lot of potential, and he described Blake as “naturally talented”.
“Blake was put on my radar by Joe O’Driscoll, a trainer at the Waves,” he said.
“The traits that made Blake stand out for me is firstly that he is a naturally talented league player.
“He is quiet natured off the field, and he listens to his coaches and the people around him.
“He is the captain of the Brothers side and though quiet natured off the field (Blake) leads by example and he rallies his team for the full game on the field.”
Andrew said as Blake had a lot of talent he was often targeted in defence.
“When asked how he reacts to that he says it just makes him more determined to run harder and faster and tackle harder.
“Along with being a tough competitor, Blake has the right attitude and the attention to detail that is needed to progress in his journey to the NRL,” he said.
“Blake will stay and finish his schooling and continue to play in Bundy, however he is now in the Bulldogs pathway system and will follow our training and fitness and diet programs.”
Subsequent to the Bulldogs signing Blake, they have announced that they will bring a home game to Bundaberg this season on Round 21, 7 August 2022 at 2pm.
“The Bulldogs will look to invest in the Bundaberg area and will identify some areas of opportunity that will be of benefit to the local Bundy rugby league community,” Andrew said.
“On the back of that, I would like to see the club be able to develop more homegrown Bundy kids as future Bulldogs.”