Promising young prop Geordie Brand has been named in the under-15 Australian schoolboys merit side after a standout national carnival for the winning Queensland side at St Marys Leagues Stadium in western Sydney.
A member of the Titans’ high performance unit (a program for young players earmarked as potential under-20s and NRL players) and Logan Brothers junior, Brand was named player of the carnival after scoring two tries in Queensland’s 30-10 win over New South Wales in the championship final.
Despite putting together a string of impressive performances across the carnival, Brand said he was shocked to receive the individual accolade and admitted to being slightly overwhelmed when presented with the award.
“I was really surprised to get player of the carnival, I wasn’t expecting it at all and I was in shock for a while afterwards, I didn’t really know how to take it,” the Beenleigh local said.
“It was just good to play for Queensland and even better to beat New South Wales in the final and win the carnival, that was great.”
Geordie’s father Gary admitted his son, like many teenagers, is a “football tragic”, with his selection in the Australian team holding special sentiment for the Brand family.
“We’re very proud of Geordie, he loves his footy – he lives and breathes it,” Gary said.
“It’s a great achievement for him and something he can be really proud of. At the beginning of the year he really set himself to make the Australian team, his uncle made the under-15 team in 1993 too, so Geordie really wanted to make it as well.
“For him to get player of the carnival was a bit of a surprise, he was shocked for a while, but very pleased I think.”
Geordie admitted his uncle’s inclusion in the 1993 side was added motivation going into the national carnival.
“My uncle made the same team in 1993, so there was some extra motivation there, I really wanted to make it for that reason,” Geordie said.
Having given up sugar and made adjustments to his diet, Brand credited the change for improving his fitness and helping his football.
“It’s helped me improve my fitness and allowed me to play big minutes which really helped me at the carnival I think,” he said.
Geordie’s dedication is a benefit of his involvement with the Titans high performance unit. The young front-rower says training with older players and the exposure to a professional environment has helped his development enormously.
“The Titans high performance unit has been a big help to my football; training with the older guys has really helped my development and the higher intensity of training along with the bigger guys has really helped me I think.”
Gary Brand has also seen the benefit of his son’s involvement in the program, not only with his performances on the football field, but also with his approach away from the field.
“It’s obvious away from football too, how he approaches everything has changed, they’ve been a big help,” he said.
With his 186cm and 96kg frame, Geordie has the physical makeup of a powerful front-rower but Titans elite player development manager Jamie McCormack says it is his hardworking attitude that is the key to his future development.
“Geordie has been rewarded in the Australian merit team for his hard work and perseverance,” McCormack said.
“Training in the high performance unit against older guys has definitely helped Geordie, but there is still a long way to go and he needs to keep working hard like he has been doing.”
There is no doubting young Geordie’s dedication to his craft, with a car/train/bus combination taking him nearly an hour and a half to reach renowned Gold Coast rugby league school Keebra Park each day.
It would be a daunting trip for some, a bit of travel wasn’t going to stop someone as passionate as Geordie from immersing himself in rugby league at school.
“The travel is a bit long, but I don’t mind,” Geordie said. “It’s a big footy school - so I love it.”