Young rugby star earns one-year deal in Australia with Wests Bulldogs

A rising star from Glenrothes rugby has been offered a 'dream' one-year contract to play with a Premier League side in Australia.

Callum Kennedy (left) and Timmy Kennedy (right), their mum Belinda (centre), in their final match for Glenrothes before Callum goes out to play in Australia with West Bulldogs

Callum Kennedy (19) is set to pack his bags and go Down Under next week after accepting a deal to join Wests Bulldogs in Brisbane.

The move materialised after his academy coach at Newcastle Thunder Brad Simpson was impressed with the youngster’s performances and showed footage of him playing to his contacts in Australia, who were equally delighted with what they saw.

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Kennedy told the Gazette: “At first, I was just thinking it was speculation when I heard a few clubs were interested.

“However, after Brad had sent the email, three teams asked me to go out in October and as soon as I got my visa and accommodation sorted, it was a no-brainer. I’m excited, I can’t wait, I’ve always wanted to go to Australia. It’s one of the big superpowers in rugby so I’m sure it will be an incredible experience.”

It has been a successful year for the winger, who earned an academy place at rugby league side Newcastle Thunder, and a national call-up to Scotland U19s alongside his twin brother Timmy at the European Championships in Serbia, in August.

He returned to local club Glenrothes at the start of the season where his impressive form has continued.

He has scored 12 tries in five games for the first team, with his eye-catching side-step leaving players grasping at thin air. He played his final game with Timmy last weekend, helping the Glens to victory.

Now, he will go out for pre-season in Australia before the new campaign begins in January. There is also an opportunity to play elite level rugby sevens with Tribe 7s.

Kennedy said: “I finished the season early with Thunder to come back to Glenrothes and see family and friends before the move. For me, it was about keeping my fitness up and enjoying my rugby.

“That is what brings out my best rugby – I think you play better when you’re having fun.”

Kennedy has been working hard at the gym, training twice a week and playing rugby at the weekend in order to prepare himself for his challenge in Australia. The 19-year-old, has been giving accommodation with a family in Queensland and will work as a personal trainer during his 12-month stay.

However, he is hoping to show what he can do and earn himself a professional contract to extend his time out there.

He will join Queensland Premier League side Wests Bulldogs – a feeder club for top tier outfit Queensland Reds.

The Wests also have one of Australia’s top coaches in Patrick Byron, whom Kennedy is keen to work with.

He played down any notions of nerves or pressure in playing for a pro contract.

He said: “I’m just going to go out there and give it my all and see what happens.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. People go out for a gap year, for me, this is my career.

“I’m looking forward to going out there and showing what I can do.”