Powerful Ipswich student rewarded with Bulldogs contract
BEING closely watched by the Canterbury Bulldogs, Ipswich State High School student Ogden George appreciates his opportunity.
The 97kg, 182cm backrower/lock is strong and focused, boosted by interest from the Bulldogs.
The year nine student has received a two-year Academy contract from the NRL club at an important stage of his rugby league development.
"It's an exciting reward for a kid that already works hard,'' Ipswich State High head coach Josh Bretherton said.
"So he gets to be in the training academies . . . he gets financial support from the club and if he makes some rep teams and stuff, they will support the finance there.
"The biggest benefit is he is right in front of the club's eyes.
"As well as what he's getting out of here at school, he's also going to get people from the Bulldogs who are checking on how he's doing, watching how he's training, giving him feedback.
"So it just helps to improve the development that you're getting.''
Having recently turned 15, George also plays for Goodna Eagles in the Rugby League Ipswich junior club competition.
He was selected in this year's Met West under-15 team before matches were cancelled due to the coronavirus.
"He was spotted by a Bulldogs scout in Queensland through us and also through his club football,'' Bretherton said, keen to help George fulfil his footy dreams.
They include securing an NRL contract when he finishes high school.
"The big thing everyone wants to do is sign the contract when they are leaving high school so that becomes the next step,'' Bretherton said.
"So for Ogden, it's really a nice reward now because he's a good player but it's really about how hard he works for the next two or three years and signing the next one.
"Being on one of these Academy contracts is putting yourself right under the nose of the club.''
George was grateful the Bulldogs were investing time and assistance into his progress.
"It means a lot. I'm happy that I finally got a contract,'' George said, having grown up in Ipswich.
In the meantime though, George is focused on helping Ipswich State High win Tuesday's Struddys Cup grand final against Redcliffe.
The quietly spoken teenager with Samoan heritage said being in the Ipswich State High Academy since year 7 was beneficial.
"Its helped me a lot. Its helped me become a better player,'' he said, rating science and history his favourite subjects other than rugby league.
Bretherton said George was one of the leaders coming up through the school's ranks.
"He is naturally a very big guy for his age,'' the head coach said.
"He has got very good footwork. His big attribute is his ability to change direction and carry a big body to the line.''