He’s contracted to Cronulla, but playing in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW for the Newtown Jets – and second-rower Billy Magoulias wouldn’t have it any other way.
The 21-year-old Mascot Jets junior is in and around the Sharks’ NRL side as one of their contracted players, but the bulky ball-playing backrower believes he’s not ready to step up just yet.
“To be honest, right now I’m not ready to play NRL,” Magoulias tells NSWRL.com.au.
“I need to play 10, 15 games of Intrust Super Premiership NSW, I need to be consistent and hopefully get my opportunity at some stage this year. I’m not going to rush into it, though, I’m just going to apply myself as best I can at training and then when ‘Flanno’ (Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan) gives me my shot I’ll be ready.”
Magoulias was instrumental in his side’s thumping Round 4 victory over Penrith at Panthers Stadium, running for 102 metres, making 18 tackles, registering a line-break and four tackle breaks in addition to scoring a try in a productive 48 minutes on the field.
“It’s a big step up from playing '20s against 20-year-olds, going into this competition against men who are first-graders and blokes who are trying to play first grade,” he says.
“They’re a bit bigger and a bit stronger – you’ve got to take on that full-time training and apply yourself as best you can, trying to transition from playing the premiership to playing NRL.”
Magoulias is, however, spending each week training with the Sharks’ NRL squad, and learning from some of Rugby League’s most experienced backrowers including Paul Gallen, Luke Lewis and Wade Graham. First grade is in his sights… eventually.
“One hundred per cent [NRL is] the long-term goal – being with those blokes through the week who play NRL, you definitely want to get there but you’ve got to be patient and do the work and be ready when the opportunity arises,” he says.
“Some blokes who get there first are rushed and don’t do a good job and that’s the end of it – I want to be positive and know I’ve done the work before I get there.
“[Cronulla’s experienced forwards are] calm, positive kinds of people – they teach you a lot about off the field as well. Everyone can play footy at that [NRL] level, it’s about making sure your life off the field is in order and that you’re training well and you’re giving it your best shot.”