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Greg Eden's desire to play in the NRL saw the English fullback play a season for Temora (inset) in Group 9 back in 2010.

Such was Greg Eden's determination to play rugby league at the highest level in Australia, as a 19-year-old he left the epicentre of rugby league in the northern hemisphere to play a season of Group 9 with the Temora Dragons.

If the speedy fullback who once drew comparisons with Billy Slater gets to run out for the Broncos at the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines on January 31 it will be in stark contrast to his first game for the Dragons at Nixon Park and post-match celebrations back at the Temora Bowling Club.

Castleford born and bred, Eden is in line to be named in a new-look Broncos squad to contest the Nines having signed with the club back in September following 57 Super League games for four different clubs.

His dream to play in the National Rugby League took its first steps back in 2010 when he arrived in the New South Wales Riverina and 12 months after his initiation into the ways of bush footy he was playing Super League for Castleford.

"It's pretty tough; they're all nuts," Eden said of his Group 9 recollections. "It seemed like [I was a target] but I just had to get on with it and carry on. 

"From when I've been young it's just always been an ambition of mine to play in Australia so I gave it a try before but it weren't really the location for me. This time around it's a little bit better and different so I'm enjoying it a lot more.

"Ever since I've been growing up I've always watched NRL and growing up I always wanted to try it. It's always looked like the best competition so I've always wanted to come here and try it and as soon as I got an opportunity last year I jumped at it."

Eden's arrival at Temora was the first injection of English blood into the club for a number of years and it didn't take long for word to spread throughout the Group of the 19-year-old 'Pom' who had come to town.

Although he was targeted by opposition players, Temora's captain/coach that year, Scott Matthews, said Eden's mental strength separated him from other players of a similar age.

"They saw a young kid and that's what normally happens in the bush, they see a bit of fresh meat and pick on the young guys but he held his ground well and truly. He got hit, he got back up," Matthews told

"There are only a handful of guys who can go from 18s and straight into first grade, that's even in bush football. A lot of guys have to do their apprenticeship in reserve grade but this bloke came straight over from England, 19, fresh as a daisy, but he could defend.

"He was a tough sort of guy, mentally as well as physically. That's what I saw the most, that he was more mentally tough. He could handle the big hits and do the big hits and that's what a lot of guys can't do at that age."

Selection for the Broncos for the Nines would be his first time representing an NRL club but it would not be his first experience playing the condensed version of the game having played for Castleford in the Rugby League Nines competition in England in 2011.

The speedy fullback who boasts 29 tries from 57 Super League games hopes to use selection in the Nines squad as a springboard to a fully-fledged NRL game sooner rather than later.

Assigned to Wynnum-Manly in Queensland's Intrust Super Cup competition, Eden is determined to prove to coach Broncos Wayne Bennett he has what it takes to finally fulfil his dream of playing in the NRL.

"As soon as possible really, that's my goal, to get in there as quick as I can," the 24-year-old said of his NRL ambitions. "Obviously if it takes a couple of weeks playing elsewhere then that's what I'll have to do but just can't wait for games now and to prove myself, show people what I can do."

Those in Temora and neighbouring towns already know what he's capable of and if he gets to run out for the Broncos' opening game against the Roosters later this month, the cheers from the Temora Bowling Club will travel across the Tasman.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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