PLAYING every minute of every game in the Toyota Cup was the sole plan young Sea Eagles winger Michael Oldfield had at the start of the 2010 season.
Sea Eagles winger Michael Oldfield is poised to represent Junior Kangaroos. Picture - Annika Enderborg.
Having overcome some minor injury niggles in his maiden season last year, the Harbord junior simply wanted to get through 2010 unscathed alongside his mates.
“I was just looking forward to a year in the 20s,” Oldfield said this week, ahead of going into camp with the Junior Kangaroos.
“My main goal was to just play every game, every minute, and hopefully secure something at the end of the year.
“A few things fell my way, then ... boom.”
Boom, crash, welcome to first grade.
By the end of the season, the 19-year-old had three NRL games to his name - including a finals’ match against the Dragons - and now has agreed to terms to remain at the Sea Eagles for the next two years.
It’s a remarkable achievement for a kid who genuinely did not imagine he would call Jamie Lyon and Steve Matai teammates this year.
“With the initial call-up I had nerves galore,” Oldfield said of the moment he learned he would make his NRL debut, a round 23 match against the Dragons at Kogarah Oval.
“I was crook the first day or two when I got the heads up. I wasn’t feeling the best. But when I went to training I felt better.
“It’s so much better playing outside people like Matai and Lyon, I couldn’t have had better help than those two. I’m pretty happy with how it went.”
So now the focus turns to representing Australia, in coming games against the junior Kiwis in New Zealand.
“I don’t know why they have picked me,” Oldfield said modestly. “It will top off the year.”
But Manly’s 20s coach David Penna can see plenty of reasons why the youngster should be part of the national squad.
“When he came to us last year, you could see he was a natural athlete, it was only a matter of time before he knuckled down and did some really good things,” the coach said.
“He should be really proud of himself.”
Junior Kangaroos coach David Hamilton said Oldfield’s selection was deserved.
“He’s a real competitor and he stays in the game, his selection was warranted,” Hamilton said.