Bombala’s Ky Rodwell is proof that through hard work and determination, dreams do come true. The rugby league talent fulfilled a boyhood dream on Saturday night when he made his NRL debut for the Parramatta Eels.
Rodwell’s first taste of NRL action could have been over in minutes, breaking his hand in his first tackle. Like he has done throughout his career, Rodwell pushed on.
The 22-year-old played for 52 minutes with a broken hand, hiding the pain from teammates and coach Brad Arthur.
Rodwell impressed on debut, defending strongly as he amassed 39 tackles.
Ky Rodwell’s journey into the National Rugby League (NRL) has not been an easy one.
Three NRL clubs, years of plying his trade in reserve grade and being told he would never make it as a professional footy player would deter many, but not Ky.
Ky has worked harder than most to crack the NRL. Those closest to him know the efforts the former Bombala junior has gone to.
“Ky’s had to work for it and it means so much to him and the family,” Ky’s mum Belinda said.
“Don’t ever give up. Ky was told he wouldn’t make it. Dreams do come true.”
Ky started playing rugby league for the Bombala Junior Blue Heelers in the under 11s. His love for the game and a strong work ethic brought success when he was selected in a Group 16 junior squad to play a South Sydney Rabbitohs development side.
Watching his brother Adam play in the match the year prior, Ky was determined to make the Group 16 team and impress South Sydney officials.
“Ky had pneumonia and told me from his hospital bed that he would make the South Sydney squad,” Belinda said.
Ky did impress officials with South Sydney offering him a senior contract at the club when he was just 16. He moved to Sydney to pursue his NRL dream and make his way through the South Sydney junior ranks.
“We found it hard having Ky away from us. It’s always hard when one of your children is away from home, especially at that age,” Belinda said.
Ky and his three siblings grew up playing a range of sports, each talented and committed.
“Ky was probably the least athletic out of the four kids but he’s got this far on sheer determination and strong will,” Belinda said.
Throughout Ky’s journey, the Bombala community has been there every step of the way. TVs throughout the region were tuned into the Parramatta and Penrith game on Saturday night as Ky came off the bench for his NRL debut.
“Ky has a very strong connection to his community,” Belinda said.
“The Bombala community has been so supportive of Ky’s journey. Everyone was very excited.”
When Ky broke the news to his family that he would be making his NRL debut, the Rodwell household was ecstatic. Elation turned to nervousness as Ky’s debut crept closer.
“We were very excited when Ky told us he would be making his debut,” Belinda said.
“It’s been a long journey for Ky to get there.
“Before he took to the field there was a mixture of tears and wanting to be sick. But when he made his first tackle we were alright.”
From Ky’s opening tackle he looked right at home at the NRL level. Years of grueling training sessions, setbacks and hard work had paid off.