Determination to succeed

My career started at Brighouse Sports Club when I joined the Under 9’s rugby team.

I was a very shy and timid youngster at the time and never really understood the game fully, however, having a dad that was a professional rugby player helped me as he had experience and knowledge of the game.

Throughout my time at Brighouse Rangers, I felt I never really understood the game fully and therefore my enjoyment started to fade away. My dad was my coach in the Under 14’s at the time and it became more difficult trying to impress him.  However, all he wanted was the best out of me; I know that now, but at the time, as I was young, I felt pressured into playing the sport, so I stopped playing the game for 2 years.

Within that 2 years, I realised I had no hobbies or anything to do outside of school and as I was not doing any active sport, I became overweight for my age and soon realised I needed to get back into being active. I thought about doing other sports; however none of them interested me. I liked the physicality of rugby and how fun it was, and with that in mind I decided to go back into the Under 15’s and start pre-season.

After a tough year getting back into the Under 15’s I still felt that I could learn more so I decided to join Siddal Bulldogs Under 16’s, coached by Gareth Greenwood. The training was much more physical and intense compared to previous training and my career started to take shape. Throughout the pre-season I played Centre and as my coach soon realised, my defence was key when defending the outside edge/wing. During my first game for Siddal against Wigan St Patrick’s, I got recognised by a scout called Chris Coops who scouted for Salford Reds. It was soon after then that I signed a contract for a Scholarship to join the Salford Reds Under 16’s.

After having 2 good years with the Salford Scholarship programme, the coaches then decided that I and 4 players out of 30 would be selected to make it into the Under 20’s Academy, set up under the Head Coach Pete Cary and Alan Hunte.

The first year of Academy was tough, getting used to the physicality of playing against older players however, within the year I secured my place as Prop, making the starting line in the final against Featherstone Rovers. This year has been another successful year making good solid progression, gaining knowledge and different skills throughout the year and also receiving the coach’s Player of Year Award.  I have one more year left on my contact with the Academy and I hope to fulfil my dream and make it into the first team.

I feel I have made it to this stage by showing determination and a positive attitude towards coaches and staff, whilst training hard. To me this entails having both mental and physical stamina and moving forward, even when the going gets tough. I believe my success is not only due to great coaches throughout my career but also my biggest fan and critic, my dad, as he has pushed me forward all the way.

I also have to thank Rastrick High School for their support as they have been understanding and supportive about my commitments outside of school.

Aiden Hema

Sixth Form Student


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