'I've never seen another kid have the control he has'
BROTHERS captain David Richardson hopes to one day be able to brag to his children that he captained Dylan McAteer.
This week, the 14-year-old Brothers junior was named the Ric Mahoney IWMCA Junior Cricketer of the Year following a breakout season which included selection in the Australian U16 cricket team.
It punctuated a perfect 12 months for the "unassuming" leg-spinner, who made his senior debut with Brothers last year under the guidance of Richardson.
"Ever since he could get hold of a cricket ball, we've watched him in the nets bowling leg spin," Richardson said.
"I've never seen another kid have the control he has at his age. At this point, it's his training and work ethic that has gotten him to where he is. He's always the first to training and the last to leave.
"He asks questions, and he listens. His attitude around the older guys is to suck in as much information as he can."
Richardson could not help but wax lyrical about the St Edmund's College student, who he said "just lives and breathes cricket".
"I can't say enough about the kid, this year was his breakout and he's taken it all in his stride," Richardson said.
"Sometimes when kids get these opportunities, they come back to club cricket and the mentality of socialising can get lost.
"Even after Christmas, when he didn't play many games with us because of school cricket, he would still come to training every Tuesday and Thursday night.
"For the grand final, we picked him as 13th man knowing he couldn't play on the first Saturday. But for the next three days, he came and ran water for us, he did the scoreboard, and fielded when we needed him to.
"Most from his generation now would say get stuffed if they weren't going to play, but he was there every day. It is testament to the character he is, and also to his parents for keeping him grounded."
It is hard to believe McAteer had never made a Queensland representative team before last year, and now is preparing to pull on the green and gold for his country.
Richardson recalled a conversation last year with McAteer's Queensland coach, and now Ipswich/Logan Hornets club coach Aaron Moore.
"It was the first Aaron had seen him at some of these trials, and he couldn't believe he hadn't been picked before that," Richardson said.
"This was the first year he's really dropped onto the scene. Some kids (selected in representative teams) come across as cocky and brash, and he's the complete opposite. Maybe he went under the radar because he's not that kind of kid, he just fits into the group.
"I said at our presentation dinner, I hope in 10 years time we're watching him playing in the higher levels because he has the determination to get him through.
"If he can roll that into a career as he gets older, he will succeed. One day I'll be telling my kids I played with Dylan McAteer."