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Buckett pushes for NRL debut



From Kilcoy to ANZ Stadium - Mitch Buckett is ready ahead of his first NRL season with the South Sydney Rabbitohs

[*] by: Peter Marsh, Caboolture Shire Herald
[*] From: Quest Newspapers
[*] March 01, 2013 12:00AM

The Rabbitohs congratulate Mitchell Buckett of the Rabbitohs as he celebrates scoring a try during the NRL Charity Shield match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the St George Illawarra Dragons at ANZ Stadium on February 22, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images Source: Getty Images
Mitchell Buckett on a run for the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles in the Queensland Cup against Redcliffe at Kilcoy in 2012. He scored the Sea Eagles only two tries in the game. Picture: Brad Cooper Source: Quest Newspapers

Seven months ago, Mitchell Buckett scored two tries toiling on a dusty Kilcoy track for the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles in front of about 1500 people.

Last week, the Caboolture Snakes product crossed the tryline on the green pastures of ANZ Stadium in front of 24,000 people.

It was a sneak peek for the South Sydney faithful at the talent of Buckett, as he puts the finishing touches on his first pre-season as a professional rugby league player.

Talks with Rabbitohs head coach Michael Maguire in the off-season have Buckett relaxed and focused ahead of the NRL season, where he hopes to make his first-grade debut.

``I've spoken to him and he said to just not stress on getting picked. He (Maguire) picks the team week by week and it goes on how you train, how your discipline is and how you're playing,'' Buckett said.

``There will be an opportunity this year.''

The first of those opportunities came last Friday night when the 21-year-old was a late inclusion to the Rabbitohs' Charity Shield side that defeated St George 28-10.

Buckett scored the last try in the match.and won plenty of new fans amoung those watching on at ANZ Stadium.

`It was unreal. I can't explain what it was like playing on that NRL stage,'' he said.

The imposing 189cm, 97kg centre said he welcomed the chance to focus on football full-time after being signed while playing for from the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles in the Intrust Super Cup last year. But the road has not been easy.

Buckett lost 5kg early in the stages of pre-season and has said it had been a tough slog to get his body NRL-ready.He has turned in long hours to fight his way back to 97kg.

``I want to be one of the fittest players in the club. I've got a little way to go yet, but I'm getting there,'' Buckett said
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