Kobe Hetherington’s rugby league journey reaches a milestone tomorrow night, following in the footsteps of a father who was “as tough as a two-dollar steak”.
Jason Hetherington started his career in the halves before going on to play hooker in an NRL grand final win and later for Queensland and Australia.
Kobe was too young to remember much of his father’s career but he’s seen enough video footage of the hard nut from the Banana shire who became a league topliner.
“I don’t remember much about him playing but I’ve seen him play. He was tough. As tough as a two-dollar steak,” Kobe said with a wit almost as dry as his father’s renowned sense of humour.
Kobe makes his Intrust Super Cup debut for Norths Devils tomorrow night when they host the Central Queensland Capras at Bishop Park.
He’ll start in the halves and he’ll run out with centre Connor Broadhurst – another player from Baralaba.
Hetherington played his first game for the Baralaba Panthers before he and twin brother Zac began their paths to senior football, earning recognition as part of The Cathedral College’s Confraternity Carnival team.
Zac made his NSW Cup debut this year for the Canterbury Bulldogs – father Jason’s premiership club.
Kobe has made his path to senior footy through the Devils’ Under 20 system, leading the club to a memorable premiership win last September as starting hooker.
He opened this year in Colts and played for the Queensland Under 20s before being moved into the senior ranks with Valleys in the Brisbane Rugby League competition ahead of tomorrow’s Cup debut.
Norths coach Rohan Smith said Hetherington’s form and persistence had secured his place as Devil No.1290 in front of a crowd that will be stacked with former Devils on the club’s Old Boys Day.
Hetherington was told of his selection at training on Monday night, a few hours after he knocked off another shift as a third-year carpentry apprentice.
“I’ve really enjoyed being at Norths – the Colts premiership last year is a really good memory,” Hetherington said.
“I started the year in Colts but moved into the BRL which has been a great experience and has got me well prepared to play Cup.
“Making the Cup team has been one of my goals since the start of the year so I’m looking forward to it.”
Jason and his wife Kym will be in Brisbane this weekend but only one of them will be at Bishop Park.
Kym which watch Kobe play while Jason sneaks across to Ipswich to join in the Jets’ Old Boys Day.
“Dad has some great footy memories so he’ll be out at the Jets but I know he’ll be keen to hear how things go for Norths. I gave him a call on Monday night (after learning of his Cup selection).”