Teenage Knights winger Dom Young hopes to end a dream rookie NRL season by playing with brother Alex in front of their proud grand-parents for Jamaica at the World Cup.
Australia and New Zealand have withdrawn from the tournament and World Cup organisers are considering whether to proceed, Young hopes to represent his heritage either this year or down the track with his Jamaica-born grandmother, Joyce, and grandfather, George, in the stands.
"When I told my grandmother about possibly playing for Jamaica, she was really proud and all of my family will be there to watch if it goes ahead," Young said.
"My grandmother and grandfather moved over to the UK to find work and there is a massive Caribbean community in Leeds, where the Jamaica team will be based if the tournament goes ahead, so I think everyone will get behind them.
"It will be really special if I can play for Jamaica with my brother. Growing up we used to knock around in the garden and throw the ball to each other so playing in a World Cup with him as a centre-wing pairing would be really good."
The brothers, who stand at 200cm tall, are products of the Huddersfield Academy system but Dom didn’t get the opportunity to play with Alex before making the move to Newcastle this season.
Dom Young gets the Knights on the board
The 19-year-old first came to the attention of NRL scouts after starring for England under 16s against France in 2017 and after making his Super League debut two years ago, decided to join the Knights.
"I watched the NRL and I’ve always wanted to challenge myself, so I had wanted to come out here but I didn’t know when," Young said.
"I thought that by pushing myself out of my comfort zone it would get the best out of me as a player so I decided to dive in at the deep end.
"Coming over from England I didn’t quite know what to expect and obviously the NRL is the best competition in the world so I thought I would have a bit of a transition period but it has been good for me and I am really enjoying it.
"The big thing is just adapting to the training, working hard and pushing myself each day. I think the pre-season put me in a great position for the season, obviously with the fitness and stuff.
"I am feeling the strongest I have ever been and away from that I think all the extra video sessions and the time spent with coaches has helped me quite a lot to learn the little things in the game which is starting to show on the field for me."
After making his NRL debut in the round-three loss to Wests Tigers, Young was sidelined by a knee injury and spent time in the NSW Cup before being recalled and will make his fifth consecutive appearance against Sydney Roosters on Friday.
Roosters v Knights - Round 19
"I have been learning about the history of the club so it is a real honour to put on the Knights jersey every week," Young said.
Despite having only just begun to settle in at Newcastle, Young had no concerns about relocating to Queensland with his Knights teammates and other NSW-based club as it is a chance to see more of Australia.
However, he admitted it was difficult to explain to family and friends at home the different approach to the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia compared to Britain.
The season so far: Round 13-18
"When you look at how many cases there are back home, and things are starting to open up again there, it is hard to wrap your head around," Young said.
"For the better of the game so the fans can keep watching we just have to get on with it and besides Newcastle I have only been to Sydney a few times, so I guess there are some positives.
"I have made some good mates in Newcastle, but my family aren’t here so the only reason I am here is for rugby and I just dedicate a lot of time to learning and trying to improve.
"It is obviously good for me to get some game time under my belt this year and I think with each game I have been building more so it has been good."